The judge in George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial for the shooting of Trayvon Martin has revoked Zimmerman’s bond, and ordered him to surrender to the county sheriff within the next 48 hours.
At issue is the money donated to Zimmerman’s PayPal account through his website. CNN explains the situation:
[State Attorney Angela] Corey alleged that tape-recorded phone calls in April between Zimmerman, while he was in Seminole County Jail, and his wife showed that the couple “spoke in code to hide what they were doing” regarding more than $135,000 in a credit union account belonging to the couple.
The money was apparently donated to Zimmerman’s website.
Zimmerman “fully controlled and participated in the transfer of money from the PayPal account to defendant and his wife’s credit union accounts,” Corey said in court records. “This occurred prior to the time defendant was arguing to the court that he was indigent and his wife had no money.”
The limited funds available to Zimmerman and his wife – he’s currently unemployed, and she’s a nursing student – were a factor in obtaining his relatively low $150,000 bond. Failing to disclose the money from the website was cited by Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester as a “material falsehood.???
Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda is added, “”This court was led to believe they didn’t have a single penny. It was misleading and I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.???
However, Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Mark O’Mara, said “there was no deceit??? because “I don’t think that they had free access to that money, and I think that was evident by the way way that they used it and didn’t use it.??? Zimmerman had used his website to solicit donations for his legal defense. O’Mara said he hopes the revocation of bond will be temporary.
Questions were also raised about a second passport Zimmerman failed to surrender to the court, but Fox News notes “the judge dismissed that concern as the equivalent of someone who has lost a driver’s license, applies for a new one and then finds the old driver’s license.???
It’s a little curious that the prosecution sat on its knowledge of Zimmerman’s funding, as his website and Pay Pal account were matters of public knowledge. Still, this is about the worst thing that Zimmerman could have done. The Martin family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, pounced at once: “We fully expect that the special prosecutor will make George Zimmerman’s credibility be front and center in this entire case. And whatever dishonesty that comes forth by George Zimmerman that they can prove, you can best believe it will be the issue of this case and rightfully so.???
There are actually a number of factors involved beyond Zimmerman’s credibility, including eyewitness testimony and physical evidence. Murder Two remains a very difficult charge to prove. But Zimmerman has probably blown any chance that the judge would dismiss the case, and he hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the court.