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George Zimmerman wants state of Florida to pay for defense expenses

George Zimmerman's attorney plans to file a motion to recoup $200,000 to $300,000 in legal fees incurred by Zimmerman in the trial resulting from the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. A Florida statute permits a defendant who is acquitted to file such a motion.

George Zimmerman will ask the state of Florida to reimburse him for as much as $300,000 in expenses he racked up successfully defending himself in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, NBC News has learned.

Zimmerman and his legal team believe they are entitled to the refund because Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder July 13 for having shot and killed Martin, 17.

The shooting in February 2012 sparked a national discussion over racial profiling after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he acted in self-defense.

Joe Burbank / AP file

George Zimmerman, left, with his attorneys Mark O'Mara, right, and Don West, as he arrived in court June 19 on the eighth day of his trial in Sanford, Fla.

The motion, to be filed by Zimmerman's lead attorney, Mark O'Mara, would seek refunds for the hundreds of thousands of dollars the defense spent on fees for expert witnesses and court reporters for depositions, travel and other similar expenses.

The request is expected to be between $200,000 and $300,000, according to Shawn Vincent, a spokesman for Zimmerman's legal team.

Attorney fees for the defense team, including O'Mara, wouldn't be part of the motion.

The state Judicial Administrative Commission, which would be responsible for paying out the money if the request is approved, has "reached out" to O'Mara to "advise him of the proper procedure and relevant precedent for such a motion," a commission official told NBC News on Tuesday.

The official said the commission would respond only after O'Mara filed a formal motion.

Zimmerman's request was first reported by The Orlando Sentinel, which quoted O'Mara as saying he would soon file the motion with state Circuit Judge Debra Nelson.

The Sentinel reported that Zimmerman's request would be based on a Florida law that says a defendant who's acquitted isn't liable for costs associated with his or her case. It must be approved by a judge or a clerk.

O'Mara told the newspaper he expects the Judicial Administrative Commission to throw up roadblocks. 

"That's where the fight is," said O'Mara, who told the paper he's been paid nothing by Zimmerman but has kept billing records.

Tom Winter and Jamie Novogrod of NBC News contributed to this report.

George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.