George Zimmerman was back in court today with a request that he again be granted bail in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The hearing, which lasted almost three hours, often better resembled a trial than a typical bond hearing. Judge Kenneth Lester didn't immediately issue a ruling.
Zimmerman's defense introduced a wide-array of evidence and testimony, including medical records and Zimmerman's own statements, in an apparent attempt to underscore weaknesses in the state's case.
Defense lawyer Mark O'Mara then began his argument, telling the judge that the evidence doesn't show a "grand conspiracy" to hide money in advance of Zimmerman's first bond hearing.
He said Zimmerman "should have done something" when his wife testified falsely about the couple's finances. However, he said his client has never missed a court date, isn't a danger to the community, and should be granted bond.
"I would ask that you let him out on the same $150,00 bond," O'Mara said. He went on to call the second-degree murder charge in the case "improper" and "very weak." Zimmerman, he said, has a "very strong argument of self defense."
Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda countered that, if anyone was acting in self-defense, it was Trayvon Martin. De La Rionda described the teen as an "innocent victim" who was profiled.
"What you have here is basically a defendant who perceives himself as the police out there," De La Rionda said.
After the hearing, O'Mara said he didn't expect a ruling today. The judge, he said, has eight to 10 hours of evidence to review.
Zimmerman's bond was revoked by the judge recently after prosecutors alleged that his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, misled the court about the couple's finances at her husband's first bond hearing.
During the hearing today, George Zimmerman's father took the stand to testify that the voice heard screaming for help in a 911 call moments before the shooting was his son's.
The prosecution pointed out that George Zimmerman has also said Trayvon Martin was suffocating him before the shooting. Robert Zimmerman said that's not inconsistent with his son being the one yelling for help.
"From the looks of my son's injuries, Trayvon Martin's hands were not just on his nose and mouth," Robert Zimmerman said.
O'Mara asked the court to allow George Zimmerman to testify without being cross-examined, but that request was denied. He did not take the stand.
Earlier in the hearing, the Seminole County probation officer who monitored Zimmerman during his initial release on bond described him as "polite and courteous," a "model client." A Sanford firefighter testified about the injuries Zimmerman suffered the night of the shooting.
Zimmerman, he said, "had blood on his face and the back of his head." He said it was clear that Zimmerman's nose was swollen and deformed.
Zimmerman's defense also played a video for the court of the reenactment that Zimmerman conducted with police. Defense lawyer Mark O'Mara also called a forensic financial specialist to testify on his client's finances.
Adam Magill testified that he performed an evaluation of the Zimmermans' finances, including the PayPal account George Zimmerman set up to solicit donations.
He testified to the grand total gathered by the fund: Just more than $205,000, minus fees. The Zimmermans used that money for a variety of expenses, including to pay off credit cards. Much of the money has since been transferred in the legal trust set up by his attorneys.
"There was a lot of money transferred back and forth but ultimately it was all accounted for," said Magill.
The state then grilled Magill on his testimony. De La Rionda questioned him as to the balance of the Zimmermans' accounts on key dates, demonstrating they had large undisclosed sums in their accounts in the lead-up to Zimmerman's first bond hearing.
De La Rionda also questioned Magill on why the Zimmermans kept their transfers under $10,000.
Magill said that was a result of a PayPal rule, not an attempt to avoid reporting requirements, but De La Rionda noted that bank transfers between the Zimmermans' accounts were also kept small and the bank had no such rule.
Today's hearing began with discussion of motions by Zimmerman's defense to restrict public access to calls he made from jail. About 145 calls were set to be released before the motion.
"I do think that there is a privacy issue that needs to be addressed," O'Mara said.
O'Mara also wants to seal the statement of "witness 9".
She's believed to be Zimmerman's former girlfriend who told Sanford police that Zimmerman has "racist ideologies", according to a police report. O'Mara argues that the release of that statement would be prejudicial to his client.
Lawyers for local and national media companies argue they are public records and should be released. Judge Kenneth Lester didn't immediately rule on the issue.
The 28-year-old Sanford man is awaiting trial on charges of second-degree murder for killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, who was walking through Zimmerman's neighborhood the evening of Feb. 26.
Zimmerman says he fired a single shot in self-defense after the teenager attacked him. Critics accuse him of racial profiling. He had called police, describing Trayvon as suspicious then began following him, according to authorities.
Zimmerman was arrested April 11 but Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. ordered him released on $150,000 bail a week later.
But that was before he learned that Zimmerman had an on-line fund-raising campaign that was raking in thousands.
At an April 20 bond hearing, Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman, testified under oath that she and George were broke. In reality, according to records released by prosecutors, she had $57,000 in her personal bank account.
Prosecutors say the Zimmermans had raised at least $135,000 by that point.
Trayvon's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, were at today's hearing.
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