Mark O'Mara, the attorney now representing George Zimmerman, told CNNs' Anderson Cooper that on Wednesday (4/25/12) he learned from Zimmerman that there was approximatly $200,000 in the Pay-Pal account associated with web-site George set up to raise money for his defense. O'Mara said he will inform the Judge about the money on Friday when they return to court for a hearing.
At the time of the bail hearing, Zimmerman and his family were saying they were of limited means and had little money. Apparently that was part of the reason the bail was set so low. O' Mara himself told CNN he believes the bail likely would have been higher if the Judge was aware of the $200,000. Zimmerman claims he did not know the money was there, saying he thought there was only a few hundred dollars in the account.
In all fairness it must be kept in mind that there may not have been much money in the account on the day of the bail hearing, and the money was raised in the days following the hearing. However there were reports that Zimmerman was having trouble raising the $15,000 needed to pay for the Bond in the days following the hearing. (That 15k fee btw, is not refunded after the case is adjucated, it's a non-refundable fee paid to the bonding company). In any case, it is hard to believe that Zimmerman was not checking the balance in that Pay-Pal account very 15 minutes.
The question is, when did the money go into the account? (you can be sure Mark O'Mara will have that information from Pay-Pal by the time they return to court). If the money was there at the time of the bail hearing, the judge is not going to be happy. Keep in mind Zimmerman and his family testified under oath that they were indigent. When Georges' sister-in law was asked in an interview, if she knew how much money had been raised, she said no, that Georges brother knew because he was taking care of the account. That point is of particular interest, because Georges brother and father, who also had started a web-site to raise money, were conspicously absent from the bail hearing. Could they have stayed away to avoid revealing how much money had been raised?
In any case, the fact that Zimmerman may possibly by now, have raised over a quarter million dollars, could have an effect on what the Judge does on Friday. With that kind of money available, the Court could consider George a flight risk, and increase the bail amount. However, in the CNN interview, O'Mara said he had George shut down his web-site and put the funds in a proper defense fund account., which O'Mara will control.
O'Mara also said he was starting a new defense fund, and that he anticipated Zimmermans' defense would cost at least somewhere between $500,000 and a Million Dollars. He said he has already put almost 100 hours into the case and his firm gets $400 an hour for their services, so do the math.
After the interview CNN commentaters and legal correspondents were saying it was concievable that 2 or 3 million dollars could be raised to defend Zimmerman, as there a lot of Zealots and NRA types out there that could easily write $25,000 and $50,000 checks for the fund.
So, did George conceal the 200k from his attorney? Or, did the money come in after his bail amount was set?