A new legal defense fund for George Zimmerman, the crime watch volunteer accused of murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, has raised about $1,000 a day so far this month, his lawyer said Thursday.
Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting death in Sanford, Florida. The case set off a wave of protests because police initially refused to take legal action against the 28-year-old, accepting his assertion that he shot Martin, 17, in self-defense.
In the wake of the protests, Zimmerman was arrested April 11 and released on bail April 23. Since then, he has been living at an undisclosed location, amid preliminary hearings and a continuing state investigation.
Mark O’Mara, Zimmermann’s lawyer, said a new legal fund for Zimmerman– gzdefensefund.com — raised $15,425 between May 3 and May 16, with most donations ranging between $25 to $100.
“The largest donation received was $3,000, then $2,000 and the lowest was one dollar,” he said, adding that “many include notes of support for Mr Zimmerman and his family.”
Zimmerman had raised more than $200,000 through an earlier fund set up through the online payment system PayPal, but it was shut down in favor of the new account which is maintained by a third party.
“Approximately $30,000 from the initial fund was spent making Mr. Zimmerman’s complicated transition from a private life in Sanford, Florida, to his new life in hiding as the defendant in a high-profile case,” O’Mara said.
He added that another $20,000 has been set aside for Zimmerman’s living expenses over the next several months.
“None of the funds have yet been allocated for legal fees or defense costs; however, it is expected for some of the funds to be used for this purpose in the near future,” O’Mara said.
[George Zimmerman (R) enters into the courtroom in April 2012 in Sanford, Florida. AFP Photo/Gary W. Green]