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Florida Will Cover $200-300K of George Zimmerman’s Legal Bills
George Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin. State law requires Florida to cover some of his legal costs, minus his lawyer fee. Costs that are included are those of “witnesses, travel, depositions, photocopies, and an animated 3-D video that defense attorneys showed jurors during closing arguments that depicted Trayvon punching Zimmerman.”
Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s defense attorney commented that he would prepare a motion. “[The motion] in the works.” Though attorney O’Mara is still figuring the total amounts, he estimates the request would total $200 to $300 thousand dollars. This is an addition to the total estimation of $902K that public agencies already have spent on the five week second degree murder trial that ended this July.
29 year old Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder/manslaughter by a six member jury. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “Moments before the fight and shooting, Zimmerman had called the police, describing the teenager as suspicious.” Though prosecutors had tried to paint Zimmerman as a racist who profiled and murdered teenager Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman told Sanford police that Trayvon punched him in the nose, knocked him to the ground, and climbed on top of him and banged his head on the sidewalk. After the situation and in the period leading up to the trial, Zimmerman had no job and had lived in hiding and living off of donations. Zimmerman’s legal defense fund was so low, according to O’Mara, that the attorney might have been “forced to ask the judge to declare Zimmerman indigent, and thus require the state to pay his legal bills. But that never happened.”
Currently, the law in Florida, statute 939.06 states that “a defendant who has been acquitted is not liable for any costs associated with his case and, if he or she paid anything, they would be due a refund.” Attorney O’Mara said that he would “ask the judge to certify the costs he submits.” He then expects arguments and many of the commissions to be challenged.