George Zimmerman

Obama: “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago”


Watch the video  : click here

n some of his most extensive comments on U.S. race relations since entering the White House, President Obama on Friday gave a very personal perspective of the shooting of 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial of George Zimmerman, offering an explanation for why the case has created so much anxiety within the African-American community.

 

“When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said this could’ve been my son. Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Mr. Obama said in an unexpected appearance in the White House briefing room, where reporters were gathered to question White House spokesman Jay Carney. (Watch his full remarks in the video above)

 

 

 

“When you think about why in the African-American community, at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, it’s important to recognize the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and history that doesn’t go away.”

 

After a Florida jury on Saturday acquitted Zimmerman of murder, Mr. Obama gave a decidedly muted response, noting that the Justice Department was reviewing the case. Some civil rights leaders called for more action from the administration of the nation’s first African-American president.

 

 

The president on Friday laid out a series of actions the government could take to help ease racial tensions at the community level, as well as foster a better environment for African-American boys. He also spoke about the sort of negative experiences that are common for young African-American men — some of which he said he has personally experienced — that have prompted the passionate reactions to the Zimmerman verdict.

 

 

 

“There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping at a department store, and that includes me,” he said. He spoke about hearing the locks click on car doors while crossing the street — something Mr. Obama said he experienced before he was senator — or seeing a woman nervously clutch her purse while in an elevator with an African-American man.

 

 

“I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. It’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.”

 

Mr. Obama said that government at all levels could help ease race relations by working with local law enforcement to create racial sensitivity training programs and best practices. As a state senator in Illinois, Mr. Obama helped pass racial profiling legislation that required training for officers on racial bias issues. He said that while police departments were initially resistant, it allowed them to build more trust with their communities.

 

Next, Mr. Obama said, “I think it’d be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kind of altercations and tragedies” that occurred in the Trayvon Martin case.

 

 

 

Obama calls for “soul-searching” in wake of Zimmerman verdict

 

The president acknowledged that Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law was not part of Zimmerman’s defense. Nevertheless, Mr. Obama said that kind of law does not necessarily send a positive message.

 

“If we’re sending a message in our societies … that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there is a way for them to exit from the situation, is that really going to be contributing to the peace and order?” he asked. “For those who resist that idea, I’d just ask people to consider if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? Do we actually think he would’ve been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman because he followed him in a car?”

 

Mr. Obama also said the nation should consider how to “bolster and reinforce our African-American boys.”

 

“There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting negative reinforcement,” he said, adding there is “more we can do to give them a sense their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest them.”

 

Mr. Obama added that he is not “naive about the prospects of some new, grand program,” but that business leaders, clergy, athletes, celebrities and others could help “young African-American men feel that they’re a full part of this society and that they’ve got pathways and avenues to succeed.”

 

The president said that national dialogues on race are not typically productive because “they end up being stilted and politicized,” but that it’s worth having conversations among families or churches.

 

Finally, he said the nation shouldn’t lose sight of its progress on issues of race and equality.

 

“When I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they’re better than we are,” he said. “That’s true of every community that I’ve visited all across the country.”

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Justice Department To Sift Through Evidence In Zimmerman Case, Look For Potential Racial Motive


July 16, 2013

MIAMI — The Justice Department will sift through trial testimony, interviews and other evidence during what is likely to be a months-long investigation into whether George Zimmerman violated Trayvon Martin’s civil rights when he shot the black teenager.

The key to charging Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, lies in whether evidence exists that he was motivated by racial animosity to kill Martin, who was 17 when he was shot during a fight with Zimmerman in February 2012. And while Martin’s family has said the teen was racially profiled, no evidence surfaced during the state trial that Zimmerman had a racial bias.

Former Miami federal prosecutor David S. Weinstein says it will likely be months before a decision is made on whether to bring charges.

Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges after claiming he fired his weapon in self-defense only after Martin attacked him. His friends and family have repeatedly denied he harbored racial animosity toward blacks. Florida did not use its own hate crime laws against Zimmerman.

Legal experts say the FBI and prosecutors will go back through the interviews done before the state case began; look at all the forensics such as crime scene records and medical reports; and review the state’s witnesses to see if any who did not testify might have important information.

However, investigators are not limited to existing evidence; they can pursue new evidence and conduct new interviews as they see fit. For instance, federal investigators could look more closely at Zimmerman’s past for any evidence of racial bias.

“They are going to need to do a thorough vetting of the facts. It takes time,” said Lauren Resnick, a former prosecutor who obtained a guilty verdict in a 1991 New York hate crime case involving the stabbing death of an Orthodox Jew. Those defendants had been acquitted in state court.

In a speech Tuesday to an NAACP convention in Orlando, Attorney General Eric Holder said “I am concerned” about the Zimmerman case and pledged the Justice Department will conduct a thorough review.

“While that inquiry is ongoing, I can promise that the Department of Justice will consider all available information before determining what action to take,” he said.

The lone juror in the case who has spoken publicly – known only as Juror B37 because their identities have not been released – said Monday that she did not believe Zimmerman followed Martin because the teen was black.

Still, supporters of the Justice Department filing civil rights charges say additional evidence could exist in the federal investigation that didn’t come up in the state prosecution of Zimmerman, possibly even witnesses who have not previously been interviewed or did not come up in the state case.

“They have a separate set of evidence they’re looking at,” said Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “They might have additional witnesses that were never called upon by the state. I think they will make the best decision that is possible in this case and they will pursue what they think is legally possible.”

Several civil rights groups, including the NAACP, are demanding that the Justice Department bring federal charges against Zimmerman, and there have been numerous protests around the country about the outcome of the Florida trial.

During a news conference Tuesday, the Rev. Al Sharpton acknowledged there are hurdles. But he said there remains a fundamental question of “does Trayvon Martin and the Trayvon Martins of this country have the civil right to go home?”

He added: “… we have some experience on how to deal with hurdles and we see that as part of our strategy.”

Beyond the exact language of the law itself, the federal probe must navigate between sensitive racial and political issues that arose when Zimmerman initially wasn’t charged in Martin’s killing.

“Many people simply cannot process how an unarmed teenager is killed, and yet no one is held criminally accountable for his death,” said Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles.

Resnick said a federal jury would have to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had a racial motive when he began following Martin and that he did not act in self-defense when he fired his gun.

“There remains the serious challenge that prosecutors still have to prove the racial motive,” she said.

Zimmerman could get life in prison if charged and convicted under federal hate crime laws.

Generally, the Justice Department is reluctant to get involved in cases that have already been tried before a state jury, in part because of concerns about double jeopardy.

Perhaps the best-known example where federal prosecutors did intervene was the case of four police officers acquitted after a California state trial in the beating of motorist Rodney King, which triggered deadly riots in the Los Angeles area in 1992.

Two of the four officers were convicted in federal court of violating King’s rights, but that case differs from Zimmerman’s because they were acting as sworn law enforcement officials, not as a private citizen claiming self-defense.

In contrast, the Justice Department declined to prosecute New York Police Department officers after they were acquitted in the 2006 shootings of three men including Sean Bell, who was fatally wounded the morning of his planned wedding. The short Justice Department statement – issued in 2010, four years after the shooting – simply said there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

“Neither accident, mistake, fear, negligence nor bad judgment is sufficient to establish a federal criminal civil rights violation,” the department said in the Bell case.

___

Associated Press writer Mike Schneider in Orlando and Shaquille Brewster in Washington contributed to this story.

Texas: Rick Perry insists ‘justice system is color blind’ after Zimmerman verdict


Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Sunday praised a Florida jury’s decision to find former neighborhood watchmen George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin, and insisted that the case had not been influenced by race because “the justice system is color blind.”

“A very thoughtful case was made by each side, the jurors made the decision and we will live with that,” the governor explained to CNN’s Candy Crowley.

The CNN host, however, pointed out that critics of the verdict had asserted that the justice system was innately unfair and weighted against African-Americans.

“Do you think that?” Crowley asked.

“I don’t,” Perry insisted. “I think our justice system is color blind, and I think that, you know, again, you don’t find people that always agree with the jury’s decision. But that’s the reason we have the system we have in place, and I think, by and large, it may not be full proof, people may make mistakes in the jury system. On the civil side, you have that appellate process.”

“But in this case, I will suggest that 2 extraordinarily capable teams laid out the issues and that jury made the right decision from their stand point.”

Earlier this year, a New York Times editorial ripped the Texas justice system for executing a disproportionate number of African-Americans under Perry.

“Texas’s death penalty system is notorious for its high tolerance of ineffective counsel for defendants, overly zealous prosecutors, and racial discrimination in jury selection,” the Times wrote. “In Texas as well as other states, a black person who murders a white person is more likely to receive the death penalty than when the victim is black.”

(source: The Raw Story)

UPDATES JULY – ZIMMERMAN – MARTIN CASE


July 19, 2012 Not God’s Plan 

MIRAMAR, Fla. — The parents of the unarmed teen who was shot and killed by a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer rejected the shooter’s claim that the death was a part of God’s plan.

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity televised Wednesday, George Zimmerman said he felt the course of the night 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed “was all God’s plan.”

“We must worship a different God,” Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, told The Associated Press. “There is no way that my God wanted George Zimmerman to murder my teenage son.”

Speaking Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show, the teen’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said the notion was “ridiculous.”

In the Fox News interview, Zimmerman also said he’d like to talk with Trayvon Martin’s parents about what happened.

“Absolutely not,” Fulton said when asked on NBC if she’d be willing to meet with Zimmerman.

The Fox News interview was Zimmerman’s first lengthy television interview and was conducted at an undisclosed location in Seminole County, Fla., where Zimmerman must remain under conditions of his release on bail.

July 18, 2012 Zimmerman Apology

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman charged with murdering unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, said during his first televised interview: “I’m not a racist. I’m not a murderer.”

Zimmerman, joined by his defense attorney Mark O’Mara, sat down with conservative Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity and discussed the events that unfolded the February night Zimmerman shot and killed the 17-year-old Martin, the national outrage the shooting caused and what he perceived as the media’s rush to judgment.

“Is there anything that you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayon that night?” Hannity asked. “Do you regret that you had a gun that night?”

“No, sir,” Zimmerman, 28, replied. “I feel that it was all God’s plan and not for me to second-guess it or judge it.”

At times Zimmerman seemed to eke out a nervous smile, with sweat gathering on his upper lip. He spent much of the one-hour interview recounting the moments just before and after the shooting. But he also addressed Martin’s parents. When asked what he would say to them, he answered, “I would tell them again that I’m sorry.”

“I don’t have my wife and I don’t have any children,” he said. “I have nephews that I love more than life, I love them more than myself. I know that when they were born it was a different, unique bond and love that I have with them. And I love my children, even though they aren’t born yet. And I am sorry that they buried their child. I can’t imagine what it must feel like, and I pray for them daily.”

Zimmerman was arrested 44 days after the Feb. 26 shooting in his gated community in Sanford, Fla. He was jailed on two separate occasions and is now free on bail. Zimmerman told Hannity that while he has few regrets of the way he handled himself that night, the result was a “tragic situation and I hope that it’s the most difficult thing I’ll ever go through in my life.”

About 45 minutes after the televised interview, Martin’s family released a statement condemning Zimmerman’s comments.

“George Zimmerman said that he does not regret getting out of his vehicle, he does not regret following Trayvon, in fact he does not regret anything he did that night,” the statement read. “He wouldn’t do anything different and he concluded it was God’s plan.

“We must worship a different God because there is no way that my God would have wanted George Zimmerman to kill my teenage son,” Tracy Martin, Martin’s father, said in the statement.

Much of what Zimmerman addressed in the one-hour interview was rehashed, the stuff of previous news fodder from police reports, recorded phone calls and witness statements.

But it was the first time that Zimmerman publicly spoke about the shooting since he took the witness stand during an April bond hearing. And it gave him an opportunity to counter reports this week that a cousin claimed he molested her over the course of a decade when they were younger, and that his family was boastfully racist.

First, Hannity asked Zimmerman to “take us back to that night.”

Zimmerman said that per his usual Sunday routine, he was on his way to do some grocery shopping at a nearby Target store when Martin caught his attention.

“That’s the last time I’ve been home,” Zimmerman said.

It was a rainy night, and Zimmerman said that Martin seemed suspicious because of the leisurely way that he was walking and ducking between the houses. Martin didn’t look like a resident running out to get the mail or a “fitness fanatic,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman sat in his vehicle, his 9 mm handgun tucked into his waistband. He told Hannity that aside from work, he kept the licensed handgun on him at all times. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, told Hannity that he’d joined the previous August after a neighbor’s house was broken into while she was home with her 9-month old baby. Zimmerman said his wife, Shellie, saw the burglars escape through their backyard.

“That was enough to scare her, to shake her up,” Zimmerman said. “I promised her I would do what I could to keep her safe.”

On an audio recording of a call Zimmerman made to a police non-emergency number the night of the shooting, Zimmerman said Martin saw him sitting in his vehicle and walked toward him, reaching into his waistband.

“I thought he was just trying to intimidate me,” Zimmerman said.

On that same phone call to police, Zimmerman said Martin then ran. He told Hannity that Martin wasn’t running at all, more like “skipping.”

Zimmerman said he never went more than 100 feet from his vehicle, and got out just to see where he was. When asked about the gap from the time Zimmerman hangs up with the police dispatcher and the time Martin is killed, and whether he was following Martin after the dispatcher warned against it, Zimmerman said he wasn’t. He said that he was simply trying to locate a proper address, and that he wasn’t chasing Martin.

Less than 30 seconds later, Zimmerman said Martin appeared, “asked me what my problem was” and “punched and broke my nose.” Zimmerman said that he wasn’t sure if he was knocked on his back or pushed, but landed on his back with Martin pummeling him and smashing his head into the sidewalk “more than a dozen” times.

He said Martin taunted him during the struggle, telling him to “shut up, shut up, shut up,” and at one point saying, “You’re going to die tonight.”

Zimmerman said Martin tried to suffocate him by covering his mouth and his broken nose with his hands. Zimmerman said that he screamed out hoping to alert the police, who he assumed would be arriving.

Zimmerman said Martin noticed the gun in his waistband.

“At that point I realized that it wasn’t my gun, it wasn’t his gun, it was the gun,” Zimmerman said. “I didn’t have any more time.”

Zimmerman fired a single bullet into Martin’s chest.

“He sat up and said something to the effect of, ‘You got it,’ or ‘You got me,'” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said he at first didn’t realize how badly Martin was injured. About an hour later, after he was taken to the police station, he learned he’d killed the youth.

“Why do you think Trayvon would have confronted you the way he did,” Hannity asked. “Could there have been any possibility that he thought you were after him and you thought he was after you and there was some misunderstanding in any way?”

“I wrestled with that for a long time, but one of my biggest issues through this ordeal has been the media, conjecture, and I can’t assume or make believe,” said Zimmerman.

Hannity then referenced that Martin’s parents lost their son and what if anything Zimmerman would say to them if he could.

“I pray for them daily,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder and faces a possible life sentence if convicted. He said he thinks about that possibility daily, but trusts the system.

“It’s a finite situation that I’ve been placed in,” he said, “… I have no choice but to believe in the system.”

O’Mara declined to allow Zimmerman to speak on allegations by prosecutors that he lied to the court during an early bond hearing in which he and his wife told the judge that they were broke, while days later it was revealed that the couple were sitting on more than $135,000 in donated funds. Shellie Zimmerman has been since charged with perjury and the judge has suggested that George Zimmerman may have broken the law as well.

O’Mara for the first time said that he is considering using Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, which gives people wide discretion in the use of deadly force, as a defense.

Zimmerman refuted claims by a cousin, now in her mid-20s, who told investigators that his immediate family were racist and that he sexually molested her from the time she was 6 years old until she was about 16.

“It is ironic the one and only person that they could find that’s saying anything remotely to me being a racist also claims that I’m a deviant,” Zimmerman said.

The interview comes after rumors that Hannity had offered to pay some of Zimmerman’s legal fees. The rumor mill began churning this week after Zimmerman was heard in newly released recorded jailhouse phone calls telling a friend that a mystery benefactor he identified only as “SH” had agreed to support him.

Globalgrind.com later reported that “a rock-solid source” confirmed that the personal email address for ‘SH’ that George Zimmerman gave to a friend is Hannity’s, “thus confirming that ‘SH’ is in fact the Fox News host,” the website reported. Hannity during the interview denied offering Zimmerman anything.

The Zimmerman-Hannity relationship goes back several months. In April, Zimmerman defied his then-lawyers and spoke with Hannity in an off-the-record phone conversation. Hannity later conducted what critics have called a sympathetic interview with Zimmerman’s father.

Toward the end of the interview, Hannity asked Zimmerman to look into the camera and address Martin’s family, the American people and “so many people with so many opinions that vary so much … to tell them about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.”

Zimmerman looked into the camera, and said:

“I do wish that there was something, anything that I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. And I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford and America, that I’m sorry that this happened. I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions, it’s polarized and divided America and I’m truly sorry.”

Zimmerman, 28, is charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting in Sanford, about 20 miles north of Orlando. Martin is black and Zimmerman has a white father and Hispanic mother. The shooting prompted nationwide protests after Zimmerman was not arrested for weeks after the shooting.

Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him and has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Zimmerman is free on $1 million bail.

In his interview, Zimmerman said he would like to tell Martin’s parents he was sorry about the teen’s death.

“I can’t imagine what it must feel like. And I pray for them daily,” Zimmerman said. Later, he added: “I am sorry that this happened.”

But Fulton said it is hard for her to accept his apology because he still says he does not regret anything he did on the night of the shooting.

When asked in the Fox News interview to explain what he meant when he told a police dispatcher he was following Martin, Zimmerman said he was trying to keep an eye on Martin to tell police. He said he was not following Martin but attempting to get a more precise address for the authorities.

Whether Zimmerman was the aggressor plays a major role in his self-defense claim.

“I hadn’t given them a correct address. I was going to give them the actual address,” he said. “I meant that I was going in the same direction as him. I didn’t mean that I was actually pursuing him.”

Zimmerman said shortly after he got out of his car, Martin was right next to him. Zimmerman said he looked down to try to find his cellphone and when he looked up, Martin punched him and broke his nose. Then, he said, Martin straddled him and started slamming his head down.

“He started bashing my head into the concrete sidewalk. I was disoriented,” Zimmerman said, adding that it was at that point he began to fear for his life – another key element in his self-defense claim.

He said as the two were struggling, Martin said “you’re going to die tonight.” Zimmerman said he yelled out multiple times – shouts captured on 911 calls by local residents – in hopes the authorities would locate them.

“I was yelling in hopes that they were in the vicinity and they would come and find me,” he said. “As soon as he broke my nose, I started yelling for help.”

Martin’s parents have said they believe it was their son who was yelling for help.

Zimmerman also said racial profiling had nothing to do with the confrontation.

“I’m not a racist and I’m not a murderer,” he said.

July 12, 2012 No racial Bias

In nearly 300 pages of documents and other evidence newly released by the Florida State Attorney’s Office in its second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman, Zimmerman appears at once absolved of racial animus in the killing of Trayvon Martin, but also as a man whose life has been complicated by a “hero complex” and haunted by abusive personal relationships.

The evidence includes dozens of interviews with witnesses, friends and neighbors, former colleagues and Martin’s family, all of which were conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI. Other evidence includes email correspondence between Zimmerman and members of the Sanford Police Department and an interview with Christopher Serino, the lead investigator on the case.

During Serino’s interview with FBI investigators, he recounted the report he made shortly after Martin’s February 26 killing in which he said the deadly encounter between Zimmerman and Martin was “ultimately avoidable” by Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s statements to 911 and to police investigators “make it clear that he had already reached a faulty conclusion as to Martin’s purpose for being in the neighborhood,” according to Serino’s statements to the FBI. Those statements included observations that Martin appeared suspicious and possibly on drugs,

But, according to the FBI report, Serino added that he believed Zimmerman’s actions on the night of the killing — when he saw Martin walking home from a nearby store, and began following and ultimately shot him — were motivated less by Martin’s skin color and more by a “little hero complex.”

The report states, “Serino believed that Zimmerman’s actions were not based on Martin’s skin color but rather based on his attire, the total circumstances of the encounter and the previous burglary suspects in the community.”

Still, based on previously released police reports, Serino believed there was probable cause for Zimmerman to be charged in Martin’s death. But in the hours and days after the shooting, then-Police Chief Bill Lee and State Attorney Norman Wolfinger decided against charging Zimmerman.

The FBI has since found no evidence that racial bias played a role in the killing, according to the records released this morning.

In interview after interview, colleagues and friends of Zimmerman said that they did not know him to harbor racially biased views. Former colleagues described Zimmerman as professional, mild-mannered and courteous. One former co-worker, who spoke with Zimmerman the day after the shooting in the lobby of their workplace, said that Zimmerman looked “absolutely devastated.” Another described him as “beat up physically and emotionally.”

source : huffington post

FLORIDA – George Zimmerman’s Jailhouse Calls To Wife Reveal Couple’s Alleged Plan To Hide Funds (AUDIO)


June 18,  2012 Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com

The special prosecutor in the case of George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, released a half-dozen recorded jailhouse phone conversations between Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, which prosecutors say reveal the couple’s plans to conceal more than $130,000 of donated money via transfers between their personal bank accounts.

The release of the recordings comes just a week after Shellie Zimmerman was arrested and charged with perjury for lying under oath about the family’s financial status during an April hearing in which her husband was granted bond.

Prosecutors say that while George and Shellie Zimmerman told the judge under oath that they were broke, and their lawyer requested a low bond because of the couple’s dire financial situation, they were instead paying off credit card bills and transferring funds into his wife’s personal bank account from a Paypal account linked to a website to raise defense funds.

In a call on April 12 Zimmerman tells his wife how happy he is about all of the money pouring in from website.

“Oh, man, that feels good… that there are people in America that care,” George Zimmerman tells Shellie. “Yeah they do,” she responds.

Shellie Zimmerman then tells George how so many people had gone to the website that it crashed several times.

“It makes me feel happy and to lay here and um be okay,” George Zimmerman tells his wife during that phone conversation.

“I’m so happy to know that you’re gonna be okay,” Shellie Zimmerman says. “After this… you’re gonna be able to just, have a great life.”

“We will,” Zimmerman said.

The call was made the day after Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

LISTEN PHONE CALLS : CLICK HERE 

On Friday, State Attorney Angela Corey’s office said that it would be releasing a trove of evidence in the case, including 151 audio recordings of phone calls that Zimmerman made from the Seminole County Jail. But not long after the announcement, Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s attorney, argued that only a fraction of those calls — which prosecutors used to have Zimmerman’s bond revoked and charges levied against his wife — should be released.

O’Mara has said that he plans on filing a motion to ask the judge in the case only to allow the release of phone calls that are directly related to Zimmerman’s bond. Otherwise, he wrote in a web posting, the privacy of family and friends of his clients could be compromised.

“Our motion will contend that the majority of the phone calls are personal and irrelevant to the charges against Mr. Zimmerman or issues surrounding the next bond hearing,” O’Mara wrote on gzlegalcase.com. “Moreover, the public release of these phone calls could jeopardize the privacy of friends and family of Mr. Zimmerman who are unrelated to the case. We will not be objecting to the release of phone calls that include conversations relevant to the the bond hearing or the charges Mr. Zimmerman faces.

Shortly after George Zimmerman’s initial bond hearing in May, it was revealed that he had raised as much as $200,000 via a website to collect funds for his defense. At a June 1 hearing, his bond was revoked after prosecutors presented recorded jailhouse conversations in which the Zimmermans seem to collude to keep the funds hidden. Zimmerman told his wife to “pay off all the bills,” which included those for American Express and Sam’s Club credit cards.

“This court was led to believe they didn’t have a single penny,” prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda said at the hearing. “It was misleading, and I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.”

According to court documents filed last week, prosecutors also obtained bank records showing that between April 16 and April 19, just days before Zimmerman’s first bond hearing, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $74,000 from her husband’s account to her own.

There were a total of eight transfers, according to the documents — four transfers in the amount of $9,990, two for $9,999, and two others for $7,500. Even after Zimmerman’s release, the large transfers of cash continued. On April 24, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $85,000 from her husband’s account to her own.

Shellie Zimmerman was arrested and charged last week but that same day posted a $1,000 bond and was released.

George Zimmerman, who has plead not guilty to second-degree murder charges in the February 26 shooting death of Martin, has a new bond hearing scheduled for June 29.

read the full article : click here 

FLORIDA – George Zimmerman’s Wife Arrested: Shellie Zimmerman Charged With Perjury


June 12, 2012 Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Shelliezimmerman

ORLANDO, Fla. — The wife of Trayvon Martin’s shooter was charged with perjury Tuesday, accused of lying when she told a judge that the couple had limited funds during a hearing that resulted in her husband being released on $150,000 bond.

Shellie Zimmerman, 25, was released on $1,000 bond on the third-degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. George Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the teen’s slaying and had been out on bond after the April 20 hearing. However, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester on June 1 revoked the bond and ordered Zimmerman returned to the Seminole County Jail. In a strongly worded ruling, Lester said the Zimmermans lied about how much money they had.

George Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara has said the couple was confused and fearful when they misled court officials about how much money they had. A call and email to him on Tuesday weren’t immediately returned.

Records show Shellie Zimmerman in the days before the hearing transferred $74,000 in eight smaller amounts ranging from $7,500 to $9,990, from her husband’s credit union account to hers, according to an arrest affidavit. It also shows that $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman’s account to his sister’s in the days before the bond hearing.

Four days after he was released on bond, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $85,500 from her account into her husband’s account, the affidavit said. The affidavit also said that jail call records show that George Zimmerman instructed her to “pay off all the bills,” including an American Express and Sam’s Club card.

A state attorney investigator met with credit union officials and learned that she had control of transfers to and from her husband’s account.

Jeffrey Neiman, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, said cash transactions in excess of $10,000 usually trigger a reporting requirement by the bank to multiple government agencies – including the IRS.

If Mrs. Zimmerman intentionally structured the financial transactions in a manner to keep the offense under $10,000, not only may she have committed perjury in the state case, but she also may have run afoul of several federal statutes and could face serious federal criminal charges,” Neiman wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, has maintained since the Feb. 26 killing that he shot Martin in self-defense because the unarmed 17-year-old was beating him up after confronting Zimmerman about following him in a gated community outside Orlando.

Zimmerman was arrested 44 days later and at the bond hearing, he took the stand and apologized to Martin’s parents.

At the hearing, Shellie Zimmerman testified that the couple, who married in 2007, had limited funds for bail because she was a full-time student and her husband wasn’t working. Prosecutors say they actually had then already raised $135,000 in donations from a website George Zimmerman created. They suggested more had been raised since then.

Shellie Zimmerman was asked about the website at the hearing, but she said she didn’t know how much money had been raised. Lester set the $150,000 bail and Zimmerman was freed a few days later after posting $15,000 in cash – which is typical.

In bringing a motion to have Zimmerman’s bond revoked lead prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda complained “This court was led to believe they didn’t have a single penny. It was misleading and I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.”

The judge agreed and ordered Zimmerman returned to jail where he has been since turning himself in on June 3. He didn’t perjure himself, but Lester said he knew his wife was lying.

“Does your client get to sit there like a potted plant and lead the court down the primrose path? That’s the issue,” Lester said in revoking Zimmerman’s bond. “He can’t sit back and obtain the benefit of a lower bond based upon those material falsehoods.”

He has another bond hearing set for June 29.

De la Rionda presented to the judge during the revocation hearing a partial transcript of telephone conversations Zimmerman had with his wife from jail, days before the original bond hearing.

Zimmerman and his wife discussed the amount of money raised from the website, and Zimmerman spoke in code to tell his wife how to make fund transfers, according to the transcript. The code referred to amounts of “$15” in place of “$150,000.”

In the arrest affidavit, they also spoke about small amounts when really, prosecutors said, they were referring in code to thousands of dollars that Shellie Zimmerman withdrew from her account to pay the bail bondsman.

___

George Zimmerman’s Old Cell Phone Number Given To Junior Guy In Orlando; Death Threats Begin


June 8, 2012  Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com

The moment Junior Alexander Guy activated his very first cell phone, calls started rolling in.

He was threatened, harassed and accused of murder at all hours of the day and night, according to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel.

“You deserve to die,” the callers would say. “You murderer!”

Turns out that T-Mobile had given Guy the cell phone number formerly used by George Zimmerman — the man who in February shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida.

When Zimmerman’s 911 tape was released, so was his number: 407-435-2400. Zimmerman got rid of the number and it was given to 49-year-old Guy, who got his first cell phone on May 7, Newscore reported.

Guy received about 70 threatening calls between the 7th and the 16th, when he turned the phone over to a lawyer and demanded compensation from T-Mobile. But the cell company refused, saying that Guy was provided with a new number and credit toward his bill.

T-Mobile then retired Zimmerman’s old cell phone number so nobody else would be threatened.

Zimmerman, 28, was charged with murder after he shot and killed 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed during the Feb. 26 incident. He claims the shooting was in self defense and pleaded not guilty. His bond was recently revoked and he has returned to jail.

The killing of Martin sparked a national uproar over Zimmerman, the responsibilities of a neighborhood watch volunteer, and race.

Trayvon Martin Case: Donations For George Zimmerman Spike On Return To Jail


June 4, 2012 Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com

After getting sent back to jail for allegedly lying about his finances, George Zimmerman has seen a spike in donations to his defense fund.

Zimmerman –– who was charged with second degree-murder of unarmed teenTrayvon Martin –- was ordered back to jail Friday after prosecutors revealed that he had enough funds to post bail, ABC reports.

His wife had told the court that the couple couldn’t afford bail, but jailhouse tapes indicate otherwise.

According to the news source, Zimmerman has about $193,000 in his defense fund, of which $20,000 has been spent on living expenses, hotels and security. Since being ordered back to jail, Zimmerman has seen an increase in contributions upwards of $1,000 a day.

It’s not again like they were trying to hide the money or leave with the money,” Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, told ABC. “They just had it… and felt like they needed to secure themselves.”


FLORIDA – George Zimmerman’s Bond Revoked In Trayvon Martin Case


June 1, 2012

A Florida judge on Friday afternoon revoked bond for George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, and ordered that he turn himself in within 48 hours.

Prosecutors had asked Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. to revoke Zimmerman’s bond because they contend that he was disingenuous at an earlier bond hearing when Zimmerman’s family and attorney claimed that he was cash broke. The motion filed by prosecutors claims that Zimmerman “misrepresented, mislead [sic] and deceived the court.”

During a bond hearing on April 20, Lester set Zimmerman’s bond at $150,000, and days later Zimmerman walked free. It was later revealed that Zimmerman had received upward of $200,000 from supporters, a sum that he did not reveal to the judge or to his own attorneys.

At that April hearing, defense attorney Mark O’Mara questioned Shelly Zimmerman, George Zimmerman’s wife, who said she had no idea how much was in the account.

Prosecutors claimed that Zimmerman and his wife knowingly colluded to hide those funds, collected through a Paypal account attached to a website that Zimmerman launched to raise funds for his defense and thank his supporters.

“This court was led to believe they didn’t have a single penny,” Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda said at Friday’s hearing. “It was misleading, and I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.”

According to the conditions of Zimmerman’s release, he was to be monitored by GPS and surrender his passport.

During Friday’s motion hearing, prosecutors said that Zimmerman also failed to disclose or turn over a second passport in his possession. According to the motion, Zimmerman acquired a second passport in 2004 after filing a claim with the State Department that his original passport was lost or stolen.

But, according to prosecutors, while Zimmerman was in custody at the Seminole County jail on April 17, he had a conversation with his wife in which the couple discussed the second passport. The conversation was recorded by jail officials:

Defendant: Do you know what? I think my passport is in that bag.Shelly Zimmerman: I have one for you in safety deposit box…

Defendant: Ok, you hold on to that.

“It really is important what the judge did, because this whole case — the crux of this case — is about George Zimmerman’s credibility,” Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin’s family, told The Huffington Post not long after the judge’s ruling. “The court found that Zimmerman was dishonest, that he lied in court.”

Zimmerman, who was arrested 44 days after the Feb. 26 shooting in Sanford, Florida, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At Friday’s hearing, prosecutors asked that a list of witnesses’ names and other evidence, which per Florida law would be part of the public record, not be released; defense attorney O’Mara also asked that the records be kept sealed. But a number of news organizations — including national news outlets such as the Associated Press,The New York Times, CNN and CBS News, as well as local agencies like the Orlando Sentinel — have filed a legal motion to ask that the judge allow all such documents to be made public.

The evidence, according to the Sentinel, includes five statements that Zimmerman gave authorities, crime scene photos that show Martin’s body and cellphone records for both men.

De La Rionda said that to make those records public could jeopardize the state’s case against Zimmerman.

“What’s occurring, unfortunately, are cases are being tried in the public sector as opposed to in the courtroom,” De La Rionda told Lester. “We are in a new age with Twitter, Facebook and all these things I’ve never heard of before in my career. Everybody gets to find out intimate details about witnesses. That never occurred before. Witnesses are going to be reluctant to get involved.”

Charges expected against George Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin shooting death


zimmerman charged with second- degree murder and his in custody

april 11 source : http://www.wxyz.com

AP) – A law enforcement official says that charges are being filed in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The official with knowledge of the investigation says a prosecutor will announce charges against George Zimmerman on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

live on CBS news at 6.00 p.m ET watch here

Zimmerman’s arrest is also expected soon.

The official didn’t know the charge and spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information.