Almost every day there’s something new to report on George and Shellie Zimmerman. The most recent headlines have to do with the couple’s upcoming divorce. On September 5th, 2013, Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce from her husband of less than six years, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed an unarmed Florida teen, was acquitted of murder several weeks before his wife announced the impending divorce proceedings.
Prior to the divorce announcement, Mrs. Zimmerman made headlines after she was found guilty of perjury. That trial took place on August 28th , and was related to false testimony, which Shellie Zimmerman provided during her husband’s initial bail hearing. Mrs. Zimmerman was convicted, after it was determined that she lied to the judge about the family’s assets and financial standing.
After telling the judge that the couple did not have much money, allegedly because Zimmerman was not working and she was a student, Shellie Zimmerman began moving tens of thousands of dollars out of her husband’s bank account and into her own. It was later determined that Zimmerman had collected at least $135,000 for his legal defense and that Mrs. Zimmerman had attempted to hide the money from the courts and the IRS. Some of the money was transferred by Mrs. Zimmerman to another relative’s bank account. Four days after George Zimmerman’s first bail hearing, his wife transferred more than $70,000 back into an account in her husband’s name. After the shady financial dealings were exposed, Shellie Zimmerman was charged with perjury and her husband’s bail was recalculated to $1 million. She was found guilty during the August trial and sentenced to probation and community service.
Following the perjury hearing, mainstream media focused on the fact that Shellie Zimmerman was left alone to face her charges, as husband George did not appear in the courtroom with her. Most news reports chose to make Mr. Zimmerman’s absence the topic, instead of Mrs. Zimmerman’s crimes.
A day later, on August 29th, Shellie Zimmerman was interviewed for ABC News. During that interview she told reporters that she had left her husband the night before he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. She stated that she did so following an argument between the two of them. While she did not give details as to the nature of the argument, she told reporters that she had gone to the home of her father and was not staying with her husband on the night of the shooting. When asked by the media, during the same interview, she refused to answer questions about Zimmerman violent temper.
Shellie Zimmerman chose to wait until weeks after the trial to bring this information forward. Her silence in regards to questions about George Zimmerman’s violent temper also seems telling. She responded with a flat “I am not going to answer that question.” In this interview, the fact that Shellie Zimmerman may have withheld important information during the trial, that could have influenced the verdict in her husband’s case was not mentioned during the interview.
In another recent interview, Mrs. Zimmerman told reporters that she and her husband had “pretty much gone into hiding” after the 2012 shooting of the Florida teen.
“We have been pretty much gypsies for the past year and a half. We’ve lived in a 20-foot trailer in the woods, scared every night that someone was going to find us and that it would be horrific.”
And yet since the trial, neither Mr. nor Mrs. Zimmerman appears to have any desire to stay out of the limelight. George Zimmerman also made headlines in August by touring Kal Tec, the gun manufacturer who produced the gun that he used to kill Trayvon Martin. He graciously posed for photos with employees.
Even before his private tour of Kal Tec, many media outlets reported that less than a week after his acquittal, George Zimmerman supposedly rescued a family following a car accident near the scene of the Trayvon Martin shooting. Again, there are many unanswered questions about that scenario. Was it a PR stunt, meant to help Zimmerman look more sympathetic to the public? What would be the point, unless he intends to try capitalize on the media attention he has gotten through out the trial.
In addition, Zimmerman has been stopped twice by police, in less than a month. Both incidents were for speeding. The first occurred in the state of Texas and the second, back in Zimmerman’s home state of Florida. In at least one of those incidents, Zimmerman made a point of telling the officer he was carrying a gun. He also asked “Do you know who I am?” He seems less like a man living in fear for his life and more like one that is on an ego trip, believing that he lives entirely above the law. That train of thought would actually not be new to Zimmerman. His old Myspace account, created years before the shooting, reveal a history of run-in’s with the law, including assaulting a police officer, domestic violence and other crimes, for which he was never held accountable. A niece also says that Zimmerman molested her for years, a crime for which he has never been charged.
In late August Zimmerman filed suit in the state of Florida, asking taxpayers to reimburse him for the cost of legal expenses associated with his trial. While his case has already cost Florida’s taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, Zimmerman’s attorneys told the press they would be seeking between $200,000 and $300,000 on Zimmerman’s behalf, for the cost of non attorney related expenses.
Contrary to the Zimmerman’s statements about “hiding out in fear for their lives” it seems likely that during the trial defense attorneys forbid the couple from making public appearance or speaking to the press. The single interview that George Zimmerman gave to Fox News’s Hannity was later used as evidence against him during his murder trial. Following that interview, Zimmerman’s lawyers were quoted as saying that:
“He did himself no favors by agreeing to the hour long interview.”
Since the trial ended, on the other hand, the couple doesn’t seem to be trying very hard to avoid publicity. It’s more than possible that Zimmerman and his wife were simply waiting for the trial to end, so they could capitalize on their new-found stardom. After all the man’s a hero now, right? A right-wing rock star. Look at all the attention that killing an unarmed teenager can get you. The money rolls in. The fan clubs line up to cheer for you. The media falls all over itself to get you on camera.
Now that the trial is over, all those earlier concerns about safety seem to have just vanished into thin air. Not that the couple won’t continue to try to gain sympathy by talking about their personal “tragedy” and how much they “suffered,” and “feared.” It’s just pretty hard to swallow coming from these two. Certainly the Zimmerman’s would like to be seen as the victims in all of this. Not a single week has passed in the months since George Zimmerman was acquitted, that he or his wife have not been in the headlines. It’s hard to believe that they fear for their lives, while at the same time they just can’t seem to stay out of the limelight. Only in America could these two be allowed to coax sympathy from the public, while the family members of a slain teenager are all but ignored and forgotten by the press and the public.