A Florida judge on Friday revoked the bail for George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, saying he had misled the court about his finances, and ordered him to present himself to the court within 48 hours.
Prosecutors alleged that Zimmerman, 28, hid from the court the fact that he had raised $135,000 on a website he set up before he was granted $150,000 bail on April 20. Zimmerman is facing second-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Martin, 17, in February.
In a hearing in Sanford, Fla., that Zimmerman did not attend, Judge Kenneth Lester said Zimmerman engaged in a “material falsehood” about his finances.
Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda said Zimmerman’s wife, Shelly, led the court to believe they were penniless, which he called a “blatant lie.”
De la Rionda said the Zimmermans spoke in “code” about moving finances around during telephone calls while George Zimmerman was in custody.
The state also alleged Zimmerman held a second passport after surrendering one to the court when bail was granted. In revoking bail, Lester said he was not swayed by arguments about the second passport, often routinely obtained by people who lose their passports.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, said it was his fault the court did not have the second passport earlier.
The revocation motion was filed as a hearing opened on the confidentiality of evidence in the case, including Zimmerman’s statement to police.
A consortium of more than a dozen media groups is asking the judge not to seal records in the case. Prosecutors and Zimmerman’s attorney fear witnesses will be harassed if their names are publicized, but the media consortium says that’s not a good enough reason to keep what is usually a public record from being released.
On Friday, De la Rionda asked that the names of witnesses be sealed. Lester said it would take several weeks to review evidence before any is unsealed.
O’Mara told Lester he wants “one trial” before a jury and that the case has an enormous amount of scrutiny on the Web, saying thousands of blogs are following the case.
O’Mara said if witnesses are identified publicly they will be subject to requests for information from the media and may change their stories, complicating things in court.
He concurred with the state’s request for a court review of witness No. 9, who made an anonymous call to Sanford police days after the shooting and leveled accusations that Zimmerman was racist.
George Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, reacts to Judge Kenneth Lester’s decision to revoke his client’s bond.
Regarding Zimmerman’s statements to police, O’Mara did not outright say he would like them sealed. He said he has had those statements for a week and a half and would like more time to review them.
O’Mara reiterated a request for 30 days’ delay before any evidence is released. He said a delay is “not unreasonable.”
“I would suggest that this case is months and months and months away from a trial date,” he said, adding, “We’re six months out from finishing discovery.”
Zimmerman is accused of killing Martin as he walked through a gated residential community in Sanford, Fla., near Orlando, on Feb. 26.
Police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense, but a special prosecutor who was subsequently appointed charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.