George Zimmerman faces second bond hearing

The Miami HeraldJune 29, 2012 

Trayvon Martin's parents are expected in Sanford Friday at the second bond hearing for their son’s killer.

Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester will decide Friday whether to let 28 year old former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman out on bond. In April, Lester let Zimmerman out on $150,000 bond, but later revoked the bail when he learned that the defendant tried to cover up how much money he had raised online.

The gaffe cost Zimmerman $15,000, which he paid to the bondsmen and did not get back.

Zimmerman’s wife was charged with perjury for lying during the bond hearing and faces a potential jail term of her own.

Lester said Zimmerman could attend his second bond hearing in civilian clothes and without restraints.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara is expected to call bondsmen to testify on Zimmerman’s behalf.

In April, Zimmerman’s parents and wife testified by phone, and he testified in person. He remained silent as his family presented itself as indigent, even as his wife and sister cashed and hid a small fortune in donations.

The defense hopes the judge will set aside any ill will he felt for having been misled, and instead considers that Zimmerman cooperated with police for six weeks while detectives investigated, and the nation rallied against him. Zimmerman gave several interviews to police, did a videotaped walk-through of the scene, submitted to a lie detector, a voice comparison analysis and also let his phone be searched.

In his prior ruling, Lester said all that weighs in Zimmerman’s favor. But his arrest history and a domestic violence clash with an ex-girlfriend could work against him, as does his lack of respect for the court, Lester said.

Assistant State Attorney Bernardo de la Rionda wouldn’t say whether he plans to mention a 2006 federal lawsuit in which Zimmerman was slapped with a $10,000 fine because he was a no-show at his own deposition. His appearance was mandatory, but failing to show up at a deposition is not as serious as missing a court appearance, legal experts say.

Lester is also expected to rule on whether prosecutors should be forced to make certain evidence public. Both sides want to seal a statement by a woman who they said made allegations that were so serious that they’d ruin Zimmerman’s chances at a fair trial. The accusation is unrelated to the Feb. 26 killing.

They will also debate whether a batch of telephone calls Zimmerman made from jail should also be released.

Media companies, including the Miami Herald, argue the law says the evidence must be made public, even if it is not admissible in this trial.

Zimmerman admits he killed Trayvon, a Michael Krop High School junior who was riding out a week’s suspension visiting Central Florida at his father’s girlfriend’s house.

Zimmerman says the teen attacked him. Prosecutors say the former neighborhood watch volunteer profiled and pursued Trayvon, and that he should be found guilty of second degree murder.

Trayvon’s parents’ attorney Benjamin Crump said Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin will attend the session but are not expected to speak.

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