Published April 26, 2012
ORLANDO, Florida – George Zimmerman's website seeking money for his legal defense may have been shut down, but apparently not before pulling in quite a haul for the high-profile Florida murder defendant.
The attorney for Zimmerman, charged in the February shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, says in a TV interview Thursday that his client's website has raised more than $200,000.
Mark O'Mara, speaking to CNN, said he learned about the money on Wednesday and will inform a judge at a Friday hearing.
Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, though he has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, invoking the state's "Stand Your Ground" law. The incident sparked a national debate as to whether the shooting was an act of racial profiling by Zimmerman, who has white and Hispanic ancestry. Martin was black.
Zimmerman was released from jail this week after paying 10 percent of $150,000 bail.
O'Mara says the bail amount may have been higher if the judge knew Zimmerman had raised $200,000.
The website used to raise the money has since been shut down, but O'Mara said he'll likely start a new defense fund for Zimmerman.
TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com was launched April 10, as a digital soapbox for Zimmerman to give his side of the story, as well as a fundraising tool to solicit donations to his legal defense fund. Zimmerman used the site, which took major credit cards, to communicate messages to his supporters. But the site was shut down as of this week.
“I’ve started the process to properly authorize his legal fund," O'Mara said earlier this week. "I do not want him to have any Internet presence and that site has been taken down.
A friend of Zimmerman had helped launch the site, but several fake imitation websites and Twitter accounts have popped up in recent weeks. O'Mara said he is trying to clear the Internet of fake sites and set up a defense fund that meets all legal requirements.
“I’m trying to scrub through all of them and take action to have them taken down,” he told FoxNews.com. “We are currently going through the Division of Consumer Service for an authorized fund. We will likely put up another website for donations, but it will be done so through my office.”
Reports are that after posting bail, Zimmerman immediately left Florida out of safety concerns and is moving between several undisclosed locations. O'Mara has said Zimmerman will likely remain in hiding until the trial starts sometime next year.
Fox News.com's Perry Chiaramonte and The Associated Press contributed to this report.