Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara said Zimmerman’s family would use collateral with a bail bondsman in order to secure money in his legal defense fund for future expenses.
O’Mara wrote, “While it may seem that there is a lot of money in the fund, this will be a very expensive case to defend and it is clear that the fight will be long and hard.”
Zimmerman, who is charged with the second-degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, had remained in jail a little over a month since having his bond revoked June 1 after it was learned that his wife misled the court about their personal finances.
Although both had claimed they had little access to funds it was later learned that Zimmerman’s had raised approximately $130,000 in a legal defense fund through a website before his initial bond hearing April 20.
On Friday, O’Mara said donations amounting to $20,000 had poured into the account since Judge Kenneth Lester set Zimmerman’s bond at $1 million the day before.
During Zimmerman’s second bond hearing on June 29, O’Mara attempted to prove that Zimmerman was not misusing the funds donated to him through the testimony of a forensic financial analyst. Additionally, O’Mara stated Zimmerman was young and fearful and did not intend to mislead the court.
Lester, however, seemed to disagree. In his order setting bond he explicitly stated that Zimmerman was manipulating the system based on phone calls made from jail where Zimmerman instructed his wife to move money between accounts.
“Under any definition, the Defendant has flaunted the system. Counsel has attempted to portray the Defendant as being a confused young man who was fearful and experienced a moment of weakness and who may also have acted out of a sense of “betrayal” by the system,” Lester wrote. “Based upon all of the evidence presented, this Court finds the opposite. The Defendant has tried to manipulate the system when he has been presented the opportunity to do so.”
Furthermore, Lester stated Zimmerman went as far as to mislead his attorney, as O’Mara had indicated he would be filing an affidavit of indigency for costs, believing Zimmerman would not be able to afford legal fees.
Lester wrote: “The failure to correct these representations meant that for a considerable period of time the Defendant misled his attorney as to his ability to pay counsel.”
O’Mara had also attempted to hold a mini-trial Friday calling several witnesses, including a responding EMT from the evening Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, and Zimmerman’s father Robert Zimmerman.
Additionally, O’Mara introduced several witness statements to back up the claim that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense when he fired the fatal shot. He also introduced video and photographic evidence showing Zimmerman’s injuries from that night.
The reasoning for this, O’Mara said, was to prove to Lester that the State’s case was not as strong as Lester may have initially thought.
After reviewing the evidence, Lester wrote in his order that evidence presented was “of limited relevance at this stage of the proceedings.”
On Zimmerman’s defense website O’Mara wrote Thursday, “We steadfastly maintain that George Zimmerman acted in self-defense and that he is not guilty of second degree murder.”
O’Mara is encouraging supporters of Zimmerman to continue to donate to the fund at GZLegalDefense.com.
As with Zimmerman’s bond before, once he is released he will have to be electronically monitored, he cannot enter the Orlando-Sanford International Airport, he must obey a curfew and cannot apply for a passport.