Zimmerman released from jail after posting $1 million bond

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, July 6, 2012 15:19 EDT
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Police booking photographs released by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday shows George Zimmerman after being taken into custody. Prosecutors Wednesday charged a neighborhood watch guard with second-degree murder in the killing of an unarmed US black teenager that sparked nationwide anger amid suspicions it was racially motivated. (AFP Photo/)
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George Zimmerman, the self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman charged with killing Trayvon Martin, was released from a Florida jail on Friday after posting a $1 million bond, his attorney said in posts published online.

“George Zimmerman and his family do not have anywhere near $1,000,000 for collateral so even if we pay the $100,000 fee, the bail bond company will have to agree to work with us on how the collateral would be posted,” Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, explained on his website. “We are encouraged we can work this out.”

Money to pay the bond company’s $100,000 fee came from Zimmerman’s defense fund, which in-part led to his bond being set so high to begin with. A judge ruled last month that Zimmerman and his wife Shellie had conspired to deceive the court about their financial assets, hiding at least $135,000 that had been donated to him by online supporters in the weeks following Martin’s death.

Before learning of Zimmerman’s deception, the judge set a bond of $150,000 in April, which was quickly met with money from the secret fund. He later revoked that order and set a new bond at $1 million, once it was clear that Zimmerman had tried to cover up his assets. Zimmerman’s wife was also arrested for perjury after she lied to the court to help cover up the funds. She was released from jail the same day.

“While Mr. Zimmerman has been in jail awaiting his bond hearing, donations to the George Zimmerman Legal Defense fund have significantly decreased,” O’Mara added. “Supporters have told us they were concerned that the Court would set such a high bond that getting George out of jail could risk wiping out the entire defense account. It appears that they were right.”

Though out of jail, Zimmerman will not be allowed to leave Seminole County and will have his location monitored electronically, a court order (PDF) dated July 5 explains. He’s also forbidden from opening a bank account, drinking alcohol, or leaving his home between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Zimmerman faces at least 25 years in prison if he’s convicted of murdering Martin. He claims the killing was self-defense, which is legally permitted in Florida and numerous other states under controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws that sanction lethal force if a person claims they were in fear for their life.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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