George Zimmerman is in hiding and nearly broke, his lawyer, Mark O’Mara, said this week. In a statement to the Orlando Sentinel, O’Mara stated that Zimmerman’s legal-defense fund is down to around $50,000, with around $20,000 in payments due. Zimmerman was able to raise over $200,000 in donations through a website he set up earlier this year. O’Mara stated that a declaration of indigency would likely be needed for Zimmerman, meaning the state of Florida would pay for his legal defense. “The money is not coming in all that strongly right now,” said O’Mara.
According to what O’Mara told the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman and his wife are currently jobless and living “in hiding” somewhere in Seminole County, Florida. O’Mara said that the couple fears for their lives and that Zimmerman is living “as a hermit” and “not doing well.” O’Mara intends to ask the courts to allow Zimmerman to move out of the county.
Zimmerman is standing trial for the death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old that Zimmerman shot in late February. Zimmerman claims that he shot Martin in self-defense. Prosecutors claim that Zimmerman followed Martin before the shooting because of Martin’s race.
The fact that Martin was black has sparked racial tensions in Central Florida and throughout the U.S. The shooting has inspired rallies and protests in which participants wear hoodies, which are symbolic of the clothing Martin was wearing the night he was shot. Also controversial is Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which allows a person to use deadly force in self-defense without having to first attempt a retreat.
O’Mara also announced this week that he intends to appeal Judge Kenneth Lester Jr.’s decision to stay on the case. O’Mara had requested that Lester be taken off the case after the judge called Zimmerman a “manipulator” for trying to hide money before a bond hearing.
O’Mara estimated it will be at least five months before a “stand your ground” or self-defense immunity hearing can commence.