The defense lawyer for George Zimmerman said Thursday night that his client had received about $200,000 through donations to his website.
Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, near Orlando, fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin of Miami Gardens on Feb. 26, after confronting the teen, whom he believed to be suspicious. Trayvon was not armed.
Sanford police cited Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law in not initially charging Zimmerman with killing Trayvon. Angela Corey, a special prosecutor appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, earlier this month charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.
Thursday night, Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that at first he had been told that Zimmerman had two accounts: one with $700, another with about $2,000.
But while trying to shut down all of Zimmerman’s Internet presence, his client asked him what to do with his PayPal accounts.
Days before Corey filed her charges, a website called TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com sprang up. The website, since removed, said visitors could use a PayPal link to donate money to Zimmerman.
O’Mara told Cooper that the account contained $200,000 and $204,000.
Asked by Cooper whether a higher bond might have been set for Zimmerman if that amount had been known, O’Mara said “maybe.” He added that he would let the court know officially about the money.
But, O’Mara added, that he’s not sure that Zimmerman even realized the money was available to him. After Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester set bond at $150,000, it was Zimmerman’s family who cobbled together the money for his release.
O’Mara said he does intend to create a legal defense fund for Zimmerman, and has already received checks from people who want to help.
His client will need the money. O’Mara estimated his legal expenses could add up to $1 million.
“You can really go through a lot of money on a case like this,” he said.