George Zimmerman’s wife struck a plea deal today on a perjury charge and was sentenced to 12 months’ probation with no jail time. Shellie Zimmerman admitted to lying about donations made to her husband’s website, which he created after killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, in attempt to raise funds for his defense, as well as for “living expenses.”
Ms. Zimmerman accepted a deal in which she agreed to plead guilty to the lesser offense of misdemeanor perjury, avoiding the original charge of felony perjury.
On his website, “therealgeorgezimmerman.com,” Zimmerman wrote “I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately my entire life.”
The website contained a link to PayPal. Zimmerman wrote that “Any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment.”
Shellie Zimmerman was charged with perjury in June 2012 after she lied to the court about the $135,000 accumulated from donors to her husband’s sad cause. At a bond hearing last year, Zimmerman told Judge Kenneth Lester that she and her husband had no money to help with his legal defense.
The couple’s bank accounts showed that $74,000 was transferred from Mr. Zimmerman’s account to his wife’s during the five days before the bond hearing. Another almost $50,000 was transferred to Zimmerman’s sister’s account.
Additionally, recorded jail phone calls reveal that the Zimmermans discussed the money transfers in coded language, in the days before the bond hearing. They also talked about transferring money to Zimmerman’s sister’s account and about removing money from a safety deposit box, according to an affidavit from the state attorney’s office.
George Zimmerman created an incredibly tasteless website after his murder of Trayvon Martin (in which he ignored the fact that a teenager senselessly lost his life and that that teenager’s family will be permanently affected by the loss) and asked for pity donations due to his sudden loss of employment and life changes. Then, he attempted to transfer the money gained through those internet donations into various accounts before the bond hearing. And then, his wife lied to a judge about the existence of the $135,000, which Zimmerman claimed was for his legal defense in the first place.
At least Ms. Zimmerman said she was sorry for her crime. In her letter of apology to the court, Zimmerman wrote that she was aware that what she told the judge was “not true.”
“By lying under oath I let my God down, I let your honor and the court down, I let my family and friends down and, most of all, I let myself down,” she said.
But Ms. Zimmerman can take comfort in the fact that she, and her husband, are both alive, and neither is facing any jail time. Not to mention, her attempt to conceal the donations purportedly intended for Zimmerman’s legal defense is only a small “let down” in the grand scheme of the George Zimmerman fiasco.