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April 27, 2012

Zimmerman and His Wife Should Be Sanctioned For Misleading The Court At Bail Hearing By Failing To Disclose Over $200,000 Collected By Zimmerman's Website


On Jun 1, 2012, the court revoked George Zimmerman's bail and ordered him back to jail for misleading the court at his bail hearing. On June 12, 2012, Shelley Zimmerman was arrested and charged with felony perjury in connection with the false testimony she gave at her husband's bail hearing.
Prosecutor Bernardo de la Rionda today asked the Court to raise the $150,000 bail set for accused murderer George Zimmerman in light of new evidence that Mr. Zimmerman and his family failed to disclose at the bail hearing that Zimmerman's website had taken in over $200,000 in donations as of the date of the bail hearing.

Zimmerman set up his website in the wake of his killing 17 year Trayvon Martin for the specific and expressed purpose of raising money to support himself and for his legal expenses.

George Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara told Florida Circuit Judge Kenneth Judge Kenneth Lester that he had not been informed by Zimmerman's family at the time of the bail hearing that Zimmerman's website had taken in over $200,000.

Judge Lester indicated he was unsure whether he had authority over the monies and directed Defense Attorney O'Mara to submit documentation regarding who controlled the website and its funds.

Not surprisingly, Attorney O'Mara did not disclose what he had been told about the $200,000 plus monies prior to the bail hearing by his own client George Zimmerman since that communication - if it occurred - would be protected by the attorney-client privilege.

On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 program,  Attorney O'Mara admitted he did not learn about the $200,000 plus monies collected by Zimmerman's website until days after the bail hearing so it would seem Zimmerman withheld this material information from even his own lawyer.

Judge Kenneth Lester said he would revisit the bail issue if it became clear that the Zimmerman family had control of the money at the time of Mr. Zimmerman’s bail hearing last week, when Zimmerman and his family testified they would be unable to afford the $1 million bond requested by the prosecution.       

It seems quite evident from all these disclosures and admissions that George Zimmerman and his family misrepresented at last week's bail hearing the monies available to Mr. Zimmerman to make bail and even withheld this critically relevant information from Mr. Zimmerman's own defense attorney Mark O'Mara until days after last week's bail hearing given Mr. O'Mara's indication to Anderson Cooper when he appeared on CNN that he did not learn of the monies raised by Zimmerman's website defense fund until Wednesday of this week.

Ever the zealous advocate, Mr. O'Mara has actually suggested that it was simply an oversight that the Zimmerman's failed to disclose at last week's bail hearing the $200,000 raised by George Zimmerman's website. 

Right. Sure. It is perfectly understandable how the recent acquisition of more than $200,000 could completely slip your mind when you are being specifically questioned about what monies and assets you have available to make bail.  Even if we accept the unlikely theory that George Zimmerman forgot he had recently been given more than $200,000 through his website plea for donations, would not his 'recollection' of this substantial sum of money at his disposal have been triggered when Prosecutor de la Rionda specifically asked George Zimmerman's mother, Gladys Zimmerman, about the website and the monies George had received from it?

DE LA RIONDA: And you don't have any knowledge of the web site, do you in terms of the money?
ZIMMERMAN: No. I know I have seen the letter, but I don't have any answers to it.

George Zimmerman's wife, Shelley Nicole Zimmerman testified at the bail hearing that she is an unemployed nursing student and that she and George have no assets that her family could liquidate to make bail.

The following is an excerpt from the bail  hearing transcript reported by CNN, when defense lawyer O'Mara questioned Mrs. Shellie Zimmerman:

O'MARA: Other major assets that you have which you can liquidate reasonably to assist in coming up with money for a bond?

S. ZIMMERMAN: None that I know of.

O'MARA: I discussed with you the pending motion to have your husband, George, declared indigent for cost, have I not?

S. ZIMMERMAN: Yes, you have.

O'MARA: Are you of any financial means where you could assist in those costs?

S. ZIMMERMAN: Not that I'm aware of.

O'MARA: I understand that you do have other family members present with you and I'll ask them questions of them but have you had discussions with them of at least trying to pool together some funds to accomplish a bond?

S. ZIMMERMAN: We have discussed that, trying to pull together the numbers of the family to scrape up anything that we possibly can.

While some may reasonably question whether Mrs. Zimmerman had knowledge or access to her husband's website generated funds when she mislead the court at the bail hearing about her family's finances, the benefit of that doubt was completely eliminated by Zimmerman's defense lawyer Mark O'Mara who states on Zimmerman's new website that at lease some of the $200,000 was deposited in Mrs. Zimmerman's own account, some was deposited in George Zimmerman's personal account and some was still in the Zimmerman PayPal account.

Since the bail hearing, Defense Attorney O'Mara has indicated that he has taken control over all the monies raised by the Zimmerman website defense fund, shut down the website and is in the process of starting a new online Zimmerman defense fund controlled exclusively by his legal office.

Whether this means that none of the $200,000 plus will be made available for bail by Mr. O'Mara should Judge Lester increase Mr. Zimmerman's bail given his and Mrs. Zimmerman's concealment of all this money from the Court at the bail hearing remains to be seen.

What other relevant evidence the Zimmerman's have withheld and/or misrepresented also remains to be seen.

Judge Lester should be as outraged as most people by the outright deception that was perpetrated by George and Shelley Zimmerman at his bail hearing and should impose appropriate sanctions for the flagrant fraud they perpetrated in court.

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