SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — George Zimmerman’s wife pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying during a bail hearing after her husband’s arrest and was sentenced to a year’s probation and 100 hours of community service.
Shellie Zimmerman had been charged with felony perjury after she lied about the couple’s assets during a bail hearing following her husband’s arrest for the fatal 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted last month of second-degree murder. Shellie Zimmerman had been charged with a felony and, if convicted, had faced up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Court records show that in the days before the bond hearing in June 2012, Shellie Zimmerman transferred $74,000 — broken into eight smaller transfers ranging from $7,500 to $9,990 — from her husband’s credit union account to hers. It also shows that $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman’s account to his sister’s in the days before the bond hearing. Amounts of over $10,000 would have been reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
Four days after he was released on bond, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $85,500 from her account into her husband’s account, records show. They also show that the jail recorded George Zimmerman instructing her on a call to “pay off all the bills,” including an American Express and Sam’s Club card.
Most of the money had come from donations to a website that had been set up to pay for George Zimmerman’s defense.
At the bail hearing, Shellie Zimmerman testified that the couple, who married in 2007, had limited funds for bail because she was a full-time student and her husband wasn’t working. Prosecutors say they actually had then already raised $135,000 in donations from the website.
Shellie Zimmerman was asked about the website at the hearing, but she said she didn’t know how much money had been raised. A judge set George Zimmerman’s bail at $150,000 bail, and he was freed a few days later after posting $15,000 in cash — which is typical.
After Shellie Zimmerman’s false statements were discovered, the judge revoked her husband’s bail. He was later released on $1 million bond.