SANFORD, Fla.—Prosecutors and a lawyer for the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin are wrangling over the money George Zimmerman received after he was charged with second-degree murder.
Zimmerman’s attorney called an expert on finances to testify Friday at Zimmerman’s bond hearing.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester revoked Zimmerman’s $150,000 bond earlier this month when prosecutors told the judge Zimmerman and his wife misled the court about how much money they had during the April bond hearing.
Prosecutors said a website Zimmerman created for his legal defense had raised $135,000 at the time of his first bond hearing. Zimmerman and his wife did not mention the money then.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
A judge will weigh several factors Friday in deciding whether to set bond for the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.
Is George Zimmerman a threat to the community? Is he a flight risk? And maybe most importantly, can Zimmerman persuade the judge he will not be deceptive again?
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester revoked George Zimmerman’s $150,000 bond earlier this month when prosecutors told the judge Zimmerman and his wife misled the court about how much money they had during an April bond hearing.
Prosecutors said a website Zimmerman created for his legal defense had raised $135,000 at the time of his first bond hearing. Zimmerman and his wife did not mention the money then, and Shellie Zimmerman even said the couple had limited resources because she was a student and wasn’t working.
Prosecutors also said the couple talked in code during recorded jailhouse conversations about how to transfer the donations to different bank accounts. At one point, George Zimmerman asked how much money they had. She replied “$155.” Prosecutors allege that was code for $155,000. Their reference to “Peter Pan” was code for the PayPal system through which the donations were made, prosecutors said.
Shellie Zimmerman has since been charged with perjury. She is out of jail on $1,000 bond and her arraignment is set for July 31.
Legal experts say Zimmerman needs a good explanation to convince the judge to let him out of jail again while he awaits trial.
“If his explanation is really weak … I think Lester could keep him in jail,” said Randy McClean, an Orlando-area defense attorney who is following the case. “If he really comes across as being genuine and has a reasonable explanation, because I don’t see how it could be a great explanation, then I think Lester will probably pump up the conditions, up his monetary conditions and let him back on bond.”
By Kyle Hightower
Associated Press / June 29, 2012
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