A judge has revoked George Zimmerman's bond in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin saying he has 48 hours to surrender to Florida authorities.
The Orlando Sentinel says the decision came after the revelation that Zimmerman and his wife may have conspired to lie about thousands of dollars in donations they'd collected before his bond hearing.
During a bond hearing in April, Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, testified that the couple had limited funds available since she was a nursing student and Zimmerman wasn't working, the Associated Press says.
But today, prosecutors pointed out in their motion that Zimmerman had $135,000 available then. It had been raised from donations through a website he set up and they suggested more has been collected since and deposited in a bank account, according to the Washington Post.
When Shellie Zimmerman was asked about the website at the April hearing, she said she didn’t know how much money had been raised. As a result, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester set bail at $150,000. The 28-year-old was freed a few days later after posting $15,000 in cash.
"Defendant has intentionally deceived the court with the assistance of his wife," the motion says, according to the Sentinel. "During the jail phone calls both of them spoke in code to hide what they were doing."
Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda complained Friday, “This court was led to believe they didn’t have a single penny. It was misleading and I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.”
The judge agreed, "He can't sit back and obtain the benefit of a lower bond based upon those material falsehoods," said Judge Lester when he made his ruling.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara said the fact that Zimmerman and his wife never used the money for anything which indicates "there was no deceit."
“Does your client get to sit there like a potted plant and lead the court down the primrose path? That’s the issue,” Lester said, ordering Zimmerman back to jail by Sunday afternoon.
As the Washington Post reports, the judge questioning Zimmerman’s truthfulness could undermine the defendant’s credibility if it is brought up at trial, which could happen, and may complicate how his defense presents him as a witness, said Orlando-area attorney Randy McClean, who is a former prosecutor.
"We fully expect that the special prosecutor will make George Zimmerman's credibility be front and center in this entire case," Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, said. "And whatever dishonesty that comes forth by George Zimmerman that they can prove, you can best believe it will be the issue of this case and rightfully so."
Since his release in late April, Zimmerman has been staying at an undisclosed location for his safety.
Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder for the February shooting. The neighborhood watch volunteer says he shot Martin in self-defense because the unarmed 17-year-old was beating him up after confronting Zimmerman about following him in a gated community outside Orlando.
Trayvon's father and family attorneys say Zimmerman is guilty of racial profiling, that he had spotted the teenager in his Sanford neighborhood, got out of his SUV while armed with a handgun and began pursuing the teen then confronted and murdered him.