In a half dozen phone calls between a locked-up George Zimmerman and his wife, the couple talk about their love for each other, buying bulletproof vests and how to move a flood of donations into their personal accounts, recordings released Monday reveal.
Prosecutors allege the six phone calls prove that Shellie Zimmerman lied when she told a judge that the couple was broke before her husband was granted bail in April.
The recordings show that from his jail cell, Zimmerman gave his wife step-by-step instructions on how to change a password and clear security questions so she could move money, gave her orders to withdraw specific amounts and directed her to pay the bills.
Prosecutors allege the couple was moving money out of an Internet PayPal account that was awash with donations for Zimmerman, who’s charged with second-degree murder in one of the most racially-charged criminal cases in the country. He shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, in Sanford Feb. 26.
The couple spoke in code, according to prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda. In the calls Zimmerman makes repeated reference to “Peter Pan,” an apparent reference to PayPal.
And neither Zimmerman or his wife ever refer to more than $100,000, talking instead about amounts generally totaling “10 dollars” and “20 dollars.” Prosecutors say those were references to $10,000 and $20,000.
Prosecutors allege the couple had access to at least $130,000 in mid-April, just before Zimmerman was freed from the Seminole County Jail on $150,000 bond.
Prosecutors also released the couple’s bank statements Monday. They show numerous transfers between the PayPal account, George Zimmerman’s bank account and his wife’s.
On April 16 — the same time prosecutors say the Zimmermans were talking in code on the phone about money transfers — records show several transfers out of Zimmerman’s account.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara did not return calls and email seeking comment Monday. Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon’s family, said it was clear in the calls that George Zimmerman was “coaching others” in “a scheme to hide money.”
“It is George Zimmerman’s credibility that is the issue,” he said.
‘You’re going to…have a great life’
The calls also reveal a softer side of Zimmerman, and a few details about his life, temperament and marriage.
Neither he nor his wife say anything angry, ugly or racist. They make no direct reference to Trayvon Martin or to the criminal charge Zimmerman faces. He also does not complain about being in jail or its conditions.
In a call April 12, the day after his arrest, Zimmerman says he is thrilled by all the money and support his website has generated.
“Oh, man, that feels good,” he tells his wife, “… that there are people in America that care.”
“Yeah they do,” she answers. So many tried to log onto his website the day of his arrest, she says, it kept crashing.
A few moments later, she says, “After all this is over, you’re going to be able to have a great life.”
“We will,” he corrects her.
In a call April 16, Shellie Zimmerman told her husband he is a “special and amazing role model to people,” to which he replied, “I wish, I wish I were.”
The couple also talks about their safety. They make references to a “safety counsel,” someone who’s apparently giving them advice on how to stay hidden and safe.
They also discuss how to get Zimmerman safely out of jail. Shellie says one possibility is having someone drive him to an airport parking garage.
“We could have two cars, we could have two rented cars,” George Zimmerman replies.
As for hiding him inside the vehicle, “Well, I have my hoodie,” he chortled, a possible reference to the hooded sweatshirt Trayvon wore the night Zimmerman shot him.
During one conversation, Zimmerman asks his wife to get a vest for him, herself and O’Mara, a likely reference to bullet-proof vests.
Source: Orlando Sentinel