MIAMI June 12, 2012 -- The wife of George Zimmerman, the Florida man charged with second-degree murder for the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was arrested today and charged with perjury.
Seminole County sheriffs picked up Shellie Zimmerman at the home where she was in hiding on one count of perjury, the latest fallout from a series of taped conversations that landed her husband back behind bars a week and a half ago.
It took a little more than an hour for Mrs. Zimmerman, 25, to pay the $1,000 bond after prosecutors filed a warrant contending that she "knowingly made a false statement" during her husband's initial bond hearing on April 20.
On April 9, George Zimmerman had launched the website therealgeorgezimmerman.com and within weeks received more than $200,000 in donations to help with his legal expenses. But during the bond hearing on April 20, Zimmerman's wife testified that the couple was financially indigent.
Appearing via telephone due to fear for her life when asked by her husband's attorney Mark O'Mara if they add any major financial assets, she responded no.
During cross examination she was again questioned about her finances. Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda asked her, "In terms of the ability of your husband to make a bond amount, you all had no money, is that correct?" Shellie Zimmerman responded yes.
At a June 1 hearing that was called to discuss what evidence in the case against her husband should be made public, prosecutors presented surprise evidence that included at least four jailhouse phone conversations in which George and Shellie Zimmerman were apparently discussing tiny amounts of money, but where allegedly referring to some of the $200,000 supporters had poured into his PayPal account.
At the time of the recordings, Zimmerman had just been recently arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old.
During one call on April 16, Zimmerman and his wife were taped discussing their bank accounts.
George Zimmerman: "In my account do I have at least $100?"
Shellie Zimmerman: "No."
George Zimmerman: "How close am I?"
Shellie Zimmerman: "$8. $8.60."
George Zimmerman: "Really? So total everything how much are we looking at?"
Shellie Zimmerman: "Like $155"
The prosecutor noted that Shellie Zimmerman actually meant $155,000.
He said the couple knew that their conversation was being recorded but that they were speaking in code and knowingly withheld from the court the amount of money brought in from therealgeorgezimmerman.com, a now defunct website.
Information provided by Zimmerman's attorney a week after he was released on bail showed that the couple had $135,000 in their bank account a day before the April 20 hearing.
In court his wife said she had no idea how much money they received from the site and that they had no money, an argument Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara used in court to help persuade the judge to set bail at $150,000. The prosecution had requested bail to be set at $1 million.
"I quite frankly from the state position will flat out call it what it is, the defendant's wife lied to the court," said De La Rionda during the June 1 hearing.
The conversations landed her husband back in jail. Haces a second bond hearing on June 29 where his release is very much in doubt.
During two of the recorded calls, Shellie Zimmerman was speaking with her husband from a Credit Union, and in one of the calls Zimmerman was speaking directly to a Credit Union official.
During another recorded conversation on April 16, prosecutors say the two were discussing how to move forward with bond.
George Zimmerman: "If the bond is more than 15, pay the 15. If more than 15 pay 10 percent to the bondsman."
Shellie Zimmerman: "You don't want me to pay $100."
George Zimmerman: "I don't know."
Shellie Zimmerman: "All right, just think about it."
George Zimmerman: "I will."
Shellie Zimmerman: "That's what it's for."
O'Mara said that the couple was not deliberately hiding money, and that it was "more of an innocent misunderstanding than a devious attempt to hide money."