George Zimmerman Received $200,000 Through Website: Attorney

Judge asks for more info about money before making decision to adjust bond

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Judge Kenneth Lester discusses altering bail for George Zimmerman after Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, reveals that Zimmerman has received more than $200,000 through a website. (Published Friday, Apr 27, 2012)

    The lawyer for George Zimmerman says a website set up to raise money for his legal defense in the Trayvon Martin shooting has raised more than $200,000.

    Attorney Mark O'Mara disclosed the money at a hearing Friday morning in Seminole County court.

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    The Zimmerman family speaks in during their son's bond court hearing. George Zimmerman's wife Shellie, his mother Gladys and his father Robert all testified via phone. (Published Friday, Apr 20, 2012)

    The hearing had been initially scheduled to deal with media organizations asking the judge to unseal documents in the case. Judge Kenneth Lester said he would approach sealing the Zimmerman documents on a case-by-case basis. 

    During the hearing, O'Mara told the judge that around $204,000 had been raised and said Zimmerman had used some of the money for living expenses but said that the money was placed into a trust account under O'Mara's control.

    Earlier this week, Zimmerman was released from jail after paying 10 percent of $150,000 bail. Lester set the bail after hearing testimony from some of Zimmerman's family members who said they didn't have many assets.

    At Friday's hearing, O'Mara said the family didn't believe the money was available to them and called it an oversight.

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    "Quite honestly, with everything he is going through over the past few weeks, if that is the only oversight committed, then we'll deal with it," O'Mara said.

    Prosecutor Bernardo de la Rionda asked for Zimmerman's bail to be raised in light of the disclosure.

    "The family members represented they had no money when in truth they really did," De la Rionda said.

    Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Martin's parents, said he asked the prosecutor to request Zimmerman's bail be revoked.

    "This is a bombshell that was dropped," Crump said.

    Lester asked O'Mara to gather more information about the website and any money raised before he made a decision on Zimmerman's bail.

    O'Mara, who was retained by Zimmerman after the website therealgeorgezimmerman.com was set up, said in an interview on CNN Thursday that he first learned about the money on Wednesday.

    The website, which included messages, photos and a link to donate to Zimmerman, has since been shut down. O'Mara said he'll likely start a new defense fund for Zimmerman.

    Zimmerman, 28, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Martin in a gated community in Sanford on Feb. 26. Zimmerman has said he shot the 17-year-old Martin, from Miami Gardens, in self-defense.

    Also discussed at Friday's hearing was a gag order filed Thursday night by the prosecution.

    "My concern is that there has been unfortunately too much talking to the media," De la Rionda said. "Unfortunately, attorneys are still commenting, specifically defense council is still commenting about the facts of the case."

    Lester said he wouldn't be issuing a gag order at this time.

    "I think the state and defense have conducted themselves absolutely appropriately," he said.