Judge: George Zimmerman Can Keep $200K

A Florida judge ruled the 28-year-old charged with second-degree murder can keep the funds raised in donations by his supporters. 

Posted: 04/27/2012 12:59 PM EDT

A Florida judge ruled Friday that George Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, can keep the more than $200,000 in donations raised by his supporters.

According to defense attorney Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman collected the $204,000 in donations through his website, taken down earlier this week, but did not disclose the contributions during his bond hearing last week.

During the hearing, O’Mara argued Zimmerman had very little money and requested his client to be released from jail on a $150,000 bail. Zimmerman, 28, was released Monday on $150,000 bail, 10 percent of which his family had to put up to secure his release.


On CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Thursday night, the lawyer revealed he recently learned about the donated money Wednesday and that his client’s bail may have been set higher if a judge had known about the money raised.

"He asked me what to do with his PayPal accounts, and I asked him what he was talking about," O'Mara told Cooper. "He said those were the accounts that had the money from the website he had. And there was about ... $204,000 that had come in to date."

Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda asked Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. Friday to increase Zimmerman's $150,000 bond. But the judge said he would delay ruling on the request because he is worried about revealing the names of the donors, and because he is not sure he has the authority to increase the bond.

During last week’s hearing, the prosecution suggested a $1 million bond.

O'Mara told CNN that Zimmerman's estimated defense costs could reach $1 million. A separate fund is expected to be developed soon. 

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(Photo:  Gary Green/The Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images)