Federal Criminal Attorney Jennifer Mayer on Potential Issues With the Defense of George Zimmerman

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Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara may have misled the judge when pursuing a small bond figure.

Just about a month ago George Zimmerman was released on $1,000,000 bond after the figure had originally been set at $150,000 by the judge weeks earlier. The reasons for this monumental increase were initially unclear, but with the release of taped phone conversations that George Zimmerman had while in jail, it became clear that the judge adjusted the bond because of some misrepresentation on the part of Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara.

According to the Miami Herald, Mr. O’Mara had attempted to declare his defendant indigent, or broke, thereby asking the court for a small bond figure because his client would be unable to pay anything too expensive. The court originally obliged, but after they went through these phone calls, they determined that O’Mara had knowledge of some funds that George Zimmerman and his family were moving around. The judge bumped the bail up, and the credibility of Mr. Zimmerman and his attorney took a significant hit.

“This is a bad thing for the Zimmerman defense,” says Jennifer Mayer Attorney at Law. “It is certainly something that will be used by prosecutors at trial, and if he testifies, it will be used to impeach his credibility.”

The call in question was between Zimmerman and an unidentified man named Scott. Zimmerman explains his financial situation to the man, that his lawyer will be declaring him indigent regardless, and that O’Mara was aware of the situation the whole time.

O’Mara has since admitted that he did know something about Mr. Zimmerman’s financials, but also claims that he did not know the exact amount of money that Zimmerman was talking about. Mr. Zimemrman’s wife has since been arrested and charged with perjury, according to CNN. There is no word yet on whether or not Mr. O’Mara will have any repercussions outside of the damage this news does to his defense.

“There are ethical rules that prevent attorneys from making material misrepresentations to the court,” says Mayer. “An attorney could be brought before an ethics board to face repercussions for that conduct.”

The court had knowledge of these tapes well before they were released to the public, and when the judge was made of aware of the situation and what appears to be deliberate misleading on the part of Zimmerman’s attorney, he raised the bond and had some harsh words for Zimmerman and his defense team, according to the New York Daily News.

As a result of the judge’s disappointment in Zimmerman’s team and their actions before the hearing, O’Mara has requested a new judge for the trial. Ms. Mayer does not see that as a likely outcome.

“The judge in this case didn’t show any evidence of bias against Mr. Zimmerman,” says Mayer,” he was simply offended at the defendant’s pre-trial conduct. Judges regularly monitor defendants’ pre-trial, and monitor their compliance with release conditions. The fact that the defendant misled the court in a pre-trial bond hearing is something that any judge would know before going into trial.”

Please visit our Maryland federal criminal attorney and Virginia federal criminal attorney websites for more information on those offices and the services they provide.

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Jordan Ruby
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