In an 8 page decision that set George Zimmerman’s bond at $1,000,000, Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester made it clear he believed the defendant was making preparations to flee the United States. He further ordered that Zimmerman must remain in Seminole County; before this Zimmerman had been allowed to remain in hiding in an out-of-state location. In the decision the judge wrote:
“Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee…It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people’s money.”
“Under any definition, the defendant has flaunted the system. Although there is no record of flight to avoid prosecution, this court finds that circumstances indicate that the defendant was preparing to flee to avoid prosecution but such plans were thwarted.”
With this ruling it is believed that Zimmerman’s window for (legally) avoiding trial became much narrower. Lester is the judge who will make the decision whether second degree murder charges are to be dismissed in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman is hoping to be exonerated under Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, which allows the use of deadly force, if you believe your life is threatened. In order for that defense to succeed, Zimmerman version of events must be viewed as credible, but the judge plainly feels that Zimmerman’s dealings with the court so far, have been less than honest.
Although the Legal Defense Fund has approximately $211,000 at this time, there are about $40,000 in payables for defense expenses so far (not including any attorney’s fees) with significant expenses ahead of us for expert witnesses, deposition costs, private security and George’s living expenses. Paying bond and scheduled expenses would effectively wipe out the existing balance.
While it may seem that there is a lot of money in the fund, this will be a very expensive case to defend and it is clear that the fight will be long and hard.
And it just got a little harder.