George Zimmerman was back in court again this morning in his second bond hearing, which ended without a bond decision being reached by the judge.
Zimmerman, on trial in a controversial second degree murder case for the killing of Trayvon Martin, had his prior bond revoked for concealing assets he had raised via PayPal from the court. His wife, Shellie Zimmerman, was arrested on a charge of perjury related to that deception.
Zimmerman arrived in court without shackles or handcuffs, wearing a suit, with a new haircut, looking rather better than he did in previous appearances. Martin’s family and their lawyers were in the gallery.
I’d made the comment several weeks ago on Twitter that I thought Zimmerman would not only be granted bond at today’s hearing, but that he would bond out at roughly the same rate as before since his personal income has not changed and his access to the money raised for his defense has been put under the control of a third party, with the Zimmerman’s having no direct access to those funds.
Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara began by filing an affidavit of Zimmerman’s financial assets, including car and furniture values, as well as cash and credit assets.
O’Mara then brought forward forensic accountant Adam Magill as his first witness, to testify about Zimmerman’s Paypal transactions, disbursements to the Zimmermans, and final transfer to the third party currently managing Zimmerman’s assets. Magill stated that the Zimmerman transfers of just under $10,000 were not designed to hide the transactions from the IRS, but were done because of Paypal’s own restrictions on the amount of money they would allow to be transferred in a single transaction.
Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda appeared to try to build an argument that the Zimmerman’swee attempting to hide transactions from the IRS, but Magill noted the transactions merely mirrored the Paypal transfers. De la Rionda made the argument that more than $40,000 provided to Zimmerman’s sister was held to hide money from the court during the first bond hearing, and that the family had roughly $130,000 in various accounts during that hearing.
Without documenting all transfers, expenses, debit payments, loans, and cash disbursements Magill testified about, the gist of his testimony was that of Zimmerman’s Paypal transactions were above-board, reasonable, legal, and ethical.
O’Mara then moved on to focus on the “re-creation video,” or walk-through Zimmerman did less than 24 hours after the shooting with police investigators. The defense used a projector in the court to show the video of Zimmerman talking about what his doctor said about his injuries, and video of his injuries recorded by and noted by Sanford Police investigators. O’Mara then submitted a composite document cataloging still photos and video stills of Zimmerman’s injuries as evidence, and cell phone video shot of Zimmerman by a witness directly after the shooting.
Zimmerman’s other attorney then called Sanford Firefighter/EMT Kevin O’Rourke to the stand, to testify about Zimmerman’s injuries. O’Rourke treated Trayvon Martin first, the moved on to Zimmerman. He reported blood on Zimmerman’s face and the back of his head, including a cut on his nose. They cleaned the blood from Zimmerman’s head–a significant amount of blood–roughly 45% of his head and face. O’Rourke suggested to Zimmerman that he would want to see a doctor within 24 hours, as he may need stitches for his injuries. “Absolutely” considered that Zimmerman’s nose was broken. On cross-examination, De la Rionda noted that the head tends to bleed profusely and that Zimmerman’s injuries were not life-threatening. De la Rionda read the official written report written by another EMT on the scene that categorized the wounds as “minor.” Zimmerman’s attorney then got EMT O’Rourke to confirm that Zimmerman’s head struck against a hard surface, and that strikes against a hard surface could lead to a life-threatening injury.
O’Mara then submitted Zimmerman’s medical records, and focused the court on the closed fracture of Zimmerman’s nose, lacerations, and a back injury. O’Mara followed with the CVSA results, which was deemed inadmissible by Judge Lester.
De la Rionda and O’Mara then spared over the admissibility of composite witness testimony from Witnesses 6, 11, and 20, the medical examiner’s report, the 711 photos of Trayvon Martin, for purposes of the bond hearing. De la Rionda wanted to make sure raw audio was also provided for each to go along with O’Mara’s transcripts.
Probation officer Adam Vincent was then called to the stand by the defense to talk about Zimmerman’s parole. Vincent affirmed Zimmerman was a “model client.”
O’Mara called Robert Zimmerman to the stand to testify that it was “absolutely” his son George Zimmerman’s voice recorded on a 911 call screaming for help. Prosecutor De la Rionda had very little to say to Mr. Zimmerman of note.
O’Mara wanted George Zimmerman to testify without a cross-examination from De la Rionda, when De la Rionda objected, that offer was then withdrawn.
O’Mara makes the argument that there was no grand conspiracy. O’Mara says Zimmerman disclosed the funds to O’Mara as soon as he had the opportunity, and that all the money was accounted for. that he talked openly and frequently to police. O’Mara then asked for Zimmerman to be released on the same bond as before. O’Mara then challenged the strength of the State’s Second Degree Murder charge and called the state’s case “extraordinarily weak.”
De la Rionda disputes the “weakness” of the case, claims Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin, and claims Zimmerman was the aggressor. After an impassioned argument, De la Rionda asks that Zimmerman not be released on bond.
Judge Lester adjourned the court without reaching a decision on when he may rule on the bond request.