A new website for George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin, has been launched by Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara. The website appeared just days after Zimmerman’s other website, TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com, stopped working last week.
O’Mara stated last Wednesday that he was trying to “shut down,” Zimmerman’s “full internet presence, ” reported Time Magazine. However, now the Mark O’Mara Law Group has confirmed to NBC affiliate WESH Orlando News that the new website does indeed belong to them.
Zimmerman’s former website caused a court dispute over the amount Zimmerman had originally paid for bail. Zimmerman, who still faces second degree murder charges for shooting Martin three months ago, was released from jail on $150,000 bail. Unbeknownst to the court at the time bail was set, Zimmerman’s original website had raised over $200,000 in donations through pay-pal.
“What George Zimmerman did was deceive the court,” a lawyer for the Martin family told Reuters.
While lawyers for the Martin family called for the court raise the amount on Zimmerman’s bail, O’Mara called the incident an “oversight.” According to Reuters, O’Mara confirmed that the Zimmerman family used $5,000 from the website donations and a second mortgage on a family house to contribute to the 10% amount to secure bond for the bail. Zimmerman only had to put up $15,000 for release. O’Mara said he had not been aware of the money raised before the bond hearing.
Judge Kenneth Lester, Jr. refused to raise the bail amount on Friday. “I’m not going to make a snap decision,” said the judge, according to reports by Reuters. Judge Lester has asked O’Mara to compile a list of the former website’s donors with information about their payments, reported the Christian Science Monitor.
Meanwhile the new website, whose first post went up on Saturday, claims that it was not launched for personal or opportunistic gain, but rather to clarify facts about the case. It includes a phone number to call for direct inquiries and encourages those with questions about the case to ask on the website.
“We understand that it is unusual for a legal defense to maintain a social media presence on behalf of a defendant, but we also acknowledge that this is a very unusual case,” said one post.
“We feel it would be irresponsible to ignore the robust online conversation, and we feel equally as strong about establishing a professional, responsible, and ethical approach to new media.”
The website will accept donations when approved. According to the website, the funds, as well as the other money from the now defunct website, will be placed in a trust fund managed by the O’Mara law group, which Zimmerman will not have direct access to. Some of the money will reportedly be used to pay for Zimmerman’s defense team. According to the Chicago Tribune, O’Mara has estimated that defense for the case will may cost between $500,000 and $1 million in legal fees. O’Mara revealed that he normally charges $400 per hour and that he has worked for at least 100 hours on the case. The money collected on the website will also be used to cover Zimmerman’s living expenses.