George Zimmerman appeals for new donations for defense fund

2:18 PM, Jul 6, 2012   |    comments
George Zimmerman
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SANFORD, Fla. -- Hours after a Florida judge set a $1 million bail for George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, his defense team issued an appeal for donations.

Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer, faces second-degree murder charges in the fatal shooting of the unarmed black teenager.

USA TODAY's Yamiche Alcindor reports that $20,000 in donations have poured into the legal defense fund since the judge set the $1 million bond, according to a statement on the website maintained by Zimmerman's legal team.

The legal team also announced that because Zimmerman is required to remain in Seminole County, a safe house has been set up for him while his legal teams looks for a more permanent location.

"Once Mr. Zimmerman's release has been secured, we will change our focus from securing bond to the defense of the charges against him," his lawyers noted.

His initial defense fund received more than $200,000 after the shooting in a Sanford, Fla., gated community Feb. 26. Zimmerman claimed self-defense in the killing of 17-year-old Martin.

Zimmerman was intially freed on $150,000 bond, but that was revoked after the court found that he and his wife, Sherrie, had attempted to deceive the court over their financial assets, particularly funds donated for his defense.

Judge Kenneth Lester increased the bail to $1 million Thursday.

"It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people's money," the judge wrote in setting the higher bail, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Zimmerman's team issued the appeal for new donations on a website, saying the defendant and his wife "do not have anywhere near" the money needed to secure the collateral needed for his release.

The appeal ends with this pitch:

For those who have given in the past, for those who have thought about giving, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman was justified in his actions, for those who feel they would do the same if they were in Mr. Zimmerman's shoes, for those that think Mr. Zimmerman has been treated unfairly by the media, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman has been falsely accused as a racist, for those who feel this case is an affront to their constitutional rights -- now is the time to show your support. 

(USA Today)

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