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Lawyer says George Zimmerman knew judge was misinformed about his finances

After being free on bond for six weeks, George Zimmerman is back in solitary confinement for allegedly concealing donations to his defense fund. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

SANFORD, Fla. — George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, knew his finances had been misrepresented to the court when he sought to be freed on bond in April, his attorney said Monday.

In a statement posted to the official website for the Zimmerman legal case, Mark O'Mara said he would file a motion for a second bond hearing later Monday. (He had not done so by 5 p.m. ET, clerks told NBC News.)

In the statement, O'Mara said Zimmerman acknowledges that he "allowed his financial situation to be misstated in court."


Zimmerman, 28, returned to jail in Seminole County on Sunday, two days after a judge revoked his bail. The judge set bail at $150,000 on April 20; Zimmerman posted $15,000 in cash several days later to be released.

Prosecutors argued that Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, misled the court about the couple's financial picture, failing to disclose money Zimmerman had raised in a PayPal account.

Key events in the Travyon Martin case

During the April 20 hearing, Shellie Zimmerman said the couple didn't have financial means on their own to support a bond. O'Mara said he didn't learn about the money until days later, when he informed the court and shuttered the account, moving the money to an official "legal defense fund" managed by a third party.

"The audio recordings of Mr. Zimmerman's phone conversations while in jail make it clear that Mr. Zimmerman knew a significant sum had been raised," O'Mara said Monday.

O'Mara said the failure to disclose the funds was motivated by fear and other pressures related to the case.

"Mr. Zimmerman understands that this mistake has undermined his credibility, which he will have to work to repair," O'Mara said.

The statement offers some new details on the fundraising picture:

  • $37,000 has been donated by supporters since the independent fund was established in late April, O'Mara said.
  • Of the $204,000 originally raised in Zimmerman's PayPal account, $30,000 was used to help him make the transition to "a life in hiding" after he was released from prison on April 23.
  • An additional $20,000 was kept liquid to pay for legal expenses.

O'Mara also said he plans to emphasize in court that Zimmerman has been otherwise "forthright and cooperative" during investigations by law enforcement.

Full coverage of the Trayvon Martin case

"He gave several voluntary statements to the police, re-enacted the events for them, gave voice exemplars for comparison and stayed in ongoing contact with the Department of Law Enforcement," O'Mara said.

Details regarding what Zimmerman told authorities have so far been off limits to the press.

A Seminole County court official in Sanford said a new bond hearing wasn't expected until next week.

The shooting in February of Martin, 17, who was unarmed, triggered a nationwide debate about whether race was involved in the shooting. Martin was black, while Zimmerman is the son of a white man and a woman from Peru.

Following is the full statement:

Details Regarding the Request for a Second Bond Hearing for George Zimmerman

Zimmerman's defense team will file a motion today for a second bond hearing. While Mr. Zimmerman acknowledges that he allowed his financial situation to be misstated in court, the defense will emphasize that in all other regards, Mr. Zimmerman has been forthright and cooperative.

He gave several voluntary statements to the police, re-enacted the events for them, gave voice exemplars for comparison and stayed in ongoing contact with the Department of Law Enforcement during his initial stage of being in hiding. He has twice surrendered himself to law enforcement when asked to do so, and this should demonstrate that Mr. Zimmerman is not a flight risk. He has also complied with all conditions of his release, including curfew, keeping in touch with his supervising officers, and maintaining his GPS monitoring, without violation.

The audio recordings of Mr. Zimmerman's phone conversations while in jail make it clear that Mr. Zimmerman knew a significant sum had been raised by his original fundraising website. We feel the failure to disclose these funds was caused by fear, mistrust, and confusion. The gravity of this mistake has been distinctly illustrated, and Mr. Zimmerman understands that this mistake has undermined his credibility, which he will have to work to repair.

At the point of the bond hearing, Mr. Zimmerman had been driven from his home and neighborhood, could not go to work, his wife could not go back to a finish her nursing degree, his mother and father had been driven from their home, and he had been thrust into the national spotlight as a racist murderer by factions acting with their own agendas. None of those allegations have been supported by the discovery released to date, yet the hatred continues.

It must be noted that, when attempting to interpret George's actions regarding the funds, that he did disclose the existence of the funds five days after the bond hearing, during his first conversation with the defense about the fund. When the defense team learned of the funds, we disclosed this to the court and to the State Attorney's Office, and the money was transferred to the Legal Defense Fund which is now independently managed.

Of the original $204,000 raised by Mr. Zimmerman's fund, approximately $150,000 was transferred to the Legal Defense Fund. $30,000 was used to make the complicated transition from private life in Sanford, FL to a life in hiding as a defendant in a high-profile court case. The balance of approximately $20,000 was kept liquid to provide living expenses for the first several months as the legal process unfolds.

Since the independently managed Legal Defense Fund was established on May 3, supporters have contributed more than $37,000. Of this amount, $2,000 has been designated for household expenses. Less than $300 has been designated for fund management and fees associated with maintaining the conditions of the bond. None of the funds have yet to be allocated to legal expenses. Neither Mr. Zimmerman or the defense team has direct access to the independently managed Legal Defense Fund.

M. Alex Johnson of msnbc.com contributed to this report.

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