According to ABC News on Wednesday, George Zimmerman’s wife Shellie plead guilty to perjury in a deal that would keep her from a felony charge in exchange for 100 hours of community service and a presented apology to the judge she lied to.
In February of 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed teen Trayvon Martin after an altercation in their gated community in Florida. He was charged with the murder, but after prosecutors failed to present proper evidence and his defense team argued self-defense in Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder.
During both preliminary hearings and cross examination over the past year, his wife Shellie Zimmerman said they were virtually financially indigent. However, Zimmerman had raised nearly $200,000 in funds through an online defense fund. Taped jail house recordings later surfaced showing Shellie and George speaking in code about their finances. Those conversations led to Zimmerman’s bail being revoked and then bail raised to a $1 million bond.
On April 9, 2012 George Zimmerman launched the website therealgeorgezimmerman.com and within weeks received more than $200,000 in donations to help pay for his mounting legal fees. But during his bond hearing Zimmerman’s wife testified that the couple was nearly broke.
Appearing via telephone due to fear for her life, she was asked by her husband’s lawyer Mark O’Mara if they add any major financial assets and she said no. She repeated that claim under cross examination.
In a later hearing, prosecutors presented surprise evidence that included at least four jailhouse phone conversations in which George and Shellie Zimmerman were apparently discussing tiny amounts of money, but where allegedly referring to some of the $200,000 into their PayPal account.
Now, Shellie must present a letter of apology to the judge she lied to, as well as commit to 100 hours of community service in exchange for a felony charge, which will allow her to pursue her nursing aspirations.
In addition, George Zimmerman wants the state of Florida to reimburse him for the costs of mounting his defense in the Trayvon Martin shooting case.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, told ABC News yesterday that he plans to file a motion to recoup as much as $300,000 in legal costs spent on defending Zimmerman.
Last week, Zimmerman appeared in public, a rare occurrence since charges were brought against him. He visited a Kel Tec factory, the company that manufactured the gun he used to kill Martin, and reportedly bought a gun at the store.