Wednesday May 2, 2012
Sanford, Fla. -- As attorney Mark O'Mara takes his client George Zimmerman on a second highly unusual foray into cyberspace, yet another angle has surfaced in the case.
On Monday, O'Mara launched his multipurpose website GZlegalcase.com, where supporters can donate money to his client's legal fund or ask questions about the case.
On Tuesday GZLegalCase announced that a former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officer will be taking control of any funds donated as the sole trustee. Zimmerman, his family and O'Mara will not be handling any monies directly.
According to the website, money collected will be doled out by this third party, Independent Administrator towards Zimmerman's and or family's living expenses and legal defense.
"The fund's administrator will have sole discretion regarding the dispersal of funds, and guidelines will be put in place to define reasonable living expenses for Mr. Zimmerman and his family and to fund necessary legal expenses. Neither Mr. Zimmerman nor The O’Mara Law Group will have direct access to the funds," writes GZLegalCase.
Tuesday's trustee's debut came on top of Monday's Twitter and Facebook debuts, and the launching of this new site which informs those who log on to join the discussion underway on Zimmerna's Facebook page. Twitter followers can tweet about the case to their heart's content.
Zimmerman already had a website where he collected more than $200,000 in donations, which he did not disclose to the court. That site has since been shut down by O'Mara and the money set up in a trust, according to Zimmerman's lawyer.
This odd strategy of having such a prominent presence on the Internet has many legal analysts scratching their heads, puzzled that presiding judge Kenneth Lester Jr. has not done anything about it.
Isn't this unethical or borderline illegal? The website has pledged to keep the identities of donors strictly private so anyone or any group can pour loads of money into that "defense fund." The NRA angle is especially troubling for gun groups have already publicly offered their services and money.
Will this turn into a "cash cow" fueled by bias and or political and interest groups out to do some "gun lobbying?" O'Mara seems to have decided on a strategy of trying the case in the public domain, or at least seems to be attempting to influence the public and potential jury pool.
Zimmerman, who was arrested and charged with second-degree murder 45 days after he shot and killed 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fl., is out on $150,000 bond, "chaperoned" by an electronic monitor and daily curfews. He also has to check in with authorities every three days but is allowed to leave the state of Florida.
The 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer claimed he killed the unarmed teen in self-defense. Trayvon had been on his way home from the nearby 7-Eleven, carrying only a bag of Skittles and a small can of iced tea, when Zimmermna thought he "looked really suspicious" and started following him.
What happened next in the space of just four minutes is not fully known but we do know the high-schooler ended up dead, with a single hollow-point bullet in his chest, laying face down in the grass of that gated community on Feb. 26.