Saturday, February 17, 2018
News Roundup

Zimmerman is no threat and should be released, lawyer says

ORLANDO — The jailed neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing Trayvon Martin poses no threat to the community and should be released a second time on bail, his lawyer said in a court motion released Monday

George Zimmerman's lawyer asked that Zimmerman be granted bail for a second time as he awaits a second-degree murder charge in the 17-year-old Martin's shooting death during a confrontation in February in a gated community in Sanford. The lawyer says Zimmerman isn't a flight risk and stayed in touch with law enforcement during his initial release on bail.

A judge will consider the request at a second bond hearing Friday.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.

The neighborhood watch volunteer was granted a $150,000 bond last April but it was revoked earlier this month after prosecutors accused Zimmerman and his wife of misleading the court about how much money they had raised from donations to a website. Prosecutors say they had raised at least $135,000 from the website created by Zimmerman.

During the hearing, Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, testified that the couple had limited funds to use for bail since she was a full-time nursing student and he wasn't working. Zimmerman did nothing to correct her as she testified by telephone due to safety concerns. Prosecutors say jailhouse calls between Zimmerman and his wife a few days before the hearing show the neighborhood watch volunteer instructing his wife on how to transfer funds raised by the website to her account.

Zimmerman's wife was later charged with making a false statement.

"Mr. Zimmerman's failure to advise the court of the existence of the donated funds at the initial bail hearing was wrong and Mr. Zimmerman accepts responsibility for his part in allowing the court to be misled as to his true financial circumstances," Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara wrote in the motion.

O'Mara also will ask Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester to reconsider his decision to make public all of Zimmerman's jailhouse calls and the statement of an unnamed witness. O'Mara said most of the calls aren't subject to the state's public records laws and the witness statement is irrelevant and could prejudice a potential jury.

Attorneys for two sets of media groups filed motions Monday arguing there was no need for the judge to reconsider his decision.

"There should be no further delay in the public's access to these public records," attorney Scott Ponce wrote in a motion for one media group that includes the Associated Press.

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