George Zimmerman, the man charged with killing Trayvon Martin, can keep the more than $200,000 raised online through his website — for now, a Florida judge ruled today.
Zimmerman’s lawyer disclosed the money to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday, admitting it might have affected the accused’s bond hearing.
“He asked me what to do with his PayPal accounts, and I asked him what he was talking about,” Mark O’Mara said on CNN. “He said those were the accounts that had the money from the website he had. And there was about ... $204,000 that had come in to date.”
The website – therealgeorgezimmerman.com – has since been taken down, along with Zimmerman’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, CNN said.
Zimmerman established the website to recoup money from lost wages and for legal defense.
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Prosecutors asked Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. to adjust Zimmerman’s bond in light of the revelation, the Miami Herald reported.
However, Lester said he didn’t want to “make a snap decision,” and must investigate the legal implications, the Herald reported.
O’Mara told the Herald that legal defense could run upwards of $1 million, and that he’s working pro bono now.
He also said a new website might soon be established to collect donations, because Zimmerman is still receiving offers.
The lawyer representing Martin’s parents immediately called Zimmerman’s character into account, The Associated Press reported.
Benjamin Crump said his clients were “offended” that Zimmerman didn’t tell court about the cash.
“This is a bombshell that was dropped,” Crump told the AP.
Zimmerman is free on bail after posting 10 percent of a $150,000 bond. He’s facing second-degree murder charges related to the February shooting of the 17-year-old Martin.
His family told court at the hearing last week it would have trouble raising any more than that amount of money.
Lester said he would rule on the bond later.
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