News guide to Zimmerman perjury arrest
ORLANDO, Fla. – Prosecutors charged the wife of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin's shooter, with perjury Tuesday. They allege she lied at an April bail hearing when she said the couple had no assets.
Prosecutors said Shellie Zimmerman knew that a website her husband had set up to collect donations for his legal defense had collected over $100,000 and that she had talked in code about the money during a recorded jailhouse phone conversation with her husband.
— THE DEFENDANT: Shellie Zimmerman is a 25-year-old nursing student who has been married to George Zimmerman for about five years.
— THE CHARGE: Shellie Zimmerman is charged with one count of perjury, a third-degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, although it is highly unlikely she would receive a sentence that stiff if convicted.
— THE TESTIMONY: At her husband's April 20 bail hearing, Shellie Zimmerman testified under oath by phone that the couple had no significant assets that could be used to post bail. When pressed by prosecutors about her husband's website, she said she had no knowledge of how much money had been collected.
— MORE MONEY: Prosecutors say Shellie Zimmerman made eight transfers from her husband's credit union account to her account between April 16 and 19 totaling more than $74,000. Six of the transfers were just under the $10,000 threshold that would have required the credit union report the transactions to the Internal Revenue Service.
— JAILHOUSE CONVERSATIONS: On April 15 and 16, Shellie Zimmerman had two phone conversations with her jailed husband in which they talk about their finances. Jail authorities recorded the calls. For example, at one point George Zimmerman asks how much money in total they have. She replies that they have "$155." Prosecutors allege that was code for $155,000.
— BACK TO JAIL: The judge in the Martin murder case on June 1 revoked George Zimmerman's bond and ordered the defendant back to jail, saying he misled the court about how much money he had available to post his $150,000 bond. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the 17-year-old's death and had been let out on $15,000 cash, which is a normal percentage. But he turned himself back into jail authorities on June 3, and will be there at least until his next bond hearing on June 29.