UPDATE at the end of the article. – Phoebe
Zimmerman’s jailhouse calls about money transfers, bulletproof vests could play role in bond hearing
Published June 18, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. – The former neighborhood watch volunteer who killed Trayvon Martin told his wife to buy bulletproof vests for them and for his attorney, according to jailhouse calls released Monday.
“As uncomfortable as it is, I want you wearing one,” George Zimmerman told his wife. Zimmerman was wearing a bulletproof vest when he left jail after posting bond. His attorney, Mark O’Mara, has reported receiving threats.
The calls, released by prosecutors, also detail how Zimmerman instructed his wife to transfer money from bank accounts and could play a crucial role in his second bond hearing next week.
Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bond in April, several days after the calls took place. At his bond hearing, his wife, Shellie, testified that she didn’t know how much money had been raised from a website created for his legal defense. She also testified that they had limited funds because she was in school full time and Zimmerman wasn’t working.
Prosecutors say the calls show George and Shellie Zimmerman knew that roughly $135,000 had been raised by the site.
Shellie Zimmerman was arrested last week on a charge of making a false statement. George Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense during the confrontation with the 17-year-old teen in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. The case sparked protests across the country when George Zimmerman wasn’t arrested at first and led to nationwide debate over race and self-defense laws.
In one call, Zimmerman tells his wife and sister how to change a computer password at a credit union so they can move funds around.
In another call, Shellie Zimmerman told her husband that the website had crashed because of supporters leaving words of support, as well as donations.
“Wow, that is awesome,” Zimmerman said. “Those people need to start vocalizing themselves.”
At her husband’s April 20 bond hearing, Shellie Zimmerman testified she didn’t know how much had been raised through the website her husband had set up before charges being filed.
And when asked whether the couple had money available to assist in his defense, she replied, “Um, not — not that I’m aware of.”
In one jailhouse phone conversation, Zimmerman asks his wife, “In my account, do I have at least $100?” She answers no, then tells him he has more like “$8, $8.60.”
“So total everything, how much are we looking at?” Zimmerman asks his wife.
“Like $155,” she responds.
Prosecutors claim the husband and wife were speaking in a type of code about their available funds.
In another call, Zimmerman asks his wife to “pay off all the bills,” including Sam’s Club and American Express bills, prosecutors said.
The couple also discusses how much money can be accessed and what to do with it, including transferring funds that were raised online for his defense to accounts belonging to Zimmerman’s sister and wife, prosecutors state in a probable cause affidavit.
Records released Monday show that tens of thousands of dollars were transferred out of a bank account. Prosecutors allege a total of $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman’s account to his sister’s account from April 16 and 17, and that Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $74,000 from her husband’s account to her account between April 16 and April 19.
After George Zimmerman was released on bond this spring, his wife transferred more than $85,500 from her account back to his account, according to the affidavit.