Trending Topics

Zimmerman’s Lawyers to Ask Florida to Pay up to $300K in Legal Expenses

As he indicated during the five-week murder trial, George Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara said he is preparing to ask the state of Florida to reimburse the acquitted Zimmerman for $200,000 to $300,000 of his legal expenses.

Since the law requires Florida to pay all legal costs—minus attorney fees—for acquitted defendants, O’Mara told the Orlando Sentinel that he is preparing a motion to ask Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson to authorize the payments.

The motion, he said, “is in the works,” estimating it would total $200,000 to $300,000.

That’s in addition to the $902,000 that public agencies spent on Zimmerman’s five-week second-degree murder trial that ended July 13.

Of course, the 29-year-old Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter by a six-member Seminole County jury for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black high-school junior.

In the time leading up to the trial, Zimmerman solicited donations from the public for his legal fees. Back in May, after raising more than $314,000 over five months to defend himself, his team’s fundraising website reported that Zimmerman had received over $12,000 in just 24 hours after public appeal.

The money to Zimmerman’s team would come from the Judicial Administrative Commission, the state agency that pays non-lawyer legal expenses of indigent defendants.

O’Mara said he would expect the commission to challenge many of the costs.

“That’s where the fight is,” he said.

O’Mara has said Zimmerman hasn’t paid him a cent of the estimated $1 million that the Orlando Sentinel calculated he is likely owed at his billing rate of $400 an hour. That amount doesn’t include the rate for his co-counsel Don West, who bills at $350 an hour, or O’Mara’s partner, Lorna Truett.

In the meantime, Zimmerman once again gave the public reason to call his judgment into question when he went to the manufacturer of the Kel-Tech 9-mm pistol — the gun he used to kill Martin in February 2012— to apparently shop for a rifle. He was given a tour of the facility by the owner’s son and posed for at least one picture with an employee.

 In reaction, Shawn Vincent, spokesman for the Zimmerman legal team, said:
“We certainly would not have advised him to go to the factory that made the gun that he used to shoot Trayvon Martin through the heart. That was not part of our public relations plan….From that perspective, we are George’s legal representation, but I don’t think he takes our advice on how he lives his life or what factories he decides to tour. We represented him in court. We got the verdict that we believe is just, and the rest of George’s life is up to George.”
Back to top