Friday, April 27, 2012

George Zimmerman, PayPal, and the Price of Justice

You can really go through a lot of money on a case like this with the intensity of it.
Mark O'Mara, Attorney at Law, currently representing George Zimmerman

Yes, in America we pride ourselves on the phrase, "and justice for all." Of course if you have a large bank balance you tend to get a little more justice than those who don't. Those high power, high profile, lawyers don't come cheap. O'Mara estimates George Zimmerman's defense costs could reach the million dollar mark.

So how does one come up with that sort of cash? It is easier than you think. You simply start your own web site and beg for it. That is what Zimmerman's wife and brother did before he turned himself in to face charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Apparently the site included pictures, quotes, and a page asking for donations through PayPal. According to O'Mara he has taken the site down, but not before it raked in $204,000. Well that is the amount everyone is admitting to anyway.

O'Mara claims he knew nothing of the site, despite the fact Zimmerman's wife mentioned it to the judge in last weeks bond hearing. At that time she said she didn't know how much money had been collected and testified that her brother in law was the real moving force behind it. O'Mara insists he really didn't know the money was out there when he spoke during the bond hearing and was shocked, shocked, when Zimmerman asked him what to do with his PayPal accounts. In a CNN interview O'Mara said he asked Zimmerman what he was talking about.

It might well be just a merry mix up, but now that he is aware of the largess, O'Mara has taken control of it. I mean he is, after all, a lawyer. He claims the money has been put into a trust that neither his client, or family can directly access. Obviously the man isn't working pro bono on this one.

The prosecution reacted predictably. It asked Judge Kenneth Lester to raise Zimmerman's bond at once. Lester says he wants to know more about the money and will consider a decision at a later date.

The Martin family, through their lawyer (everyone has one now days) are demanding that Zimmerman's bond not be raised, but rather revoked entirely. In a CNN interview Benjamin Crump said, "They tried to portray themselves as indigent, that they didn't have any money. We think the court should revoke his bond immediately and he should be held accountable for misleading the court."

Zimmerman is currently out, somewhere, on $150,000 bail. His family put up $15,000 cash to a bondsman, a ten percent fee, which is pretty much the standard in the industry. If the former neighborhood watch captain decides to take flight the bond company is on the hook for the $150 grand. That is where guys like Dog the Bounty Hunter come in, but that is another story.

There is no telling where this is going next, or what new revelations will come to light. God only knows what sort of mass marketing beasts  have contacted both the Martins and the Zimmermans looking for licenses to sell everything from tee shirts to coffee mugs with names and photos on them. The next step will be the distribution of hand held pennants for people to wave in the court room as the trial proceeds.

I do sort of like the idea of the web site though. I might set one up for myself. "Send a Love Gift to Brother Sid and all your sins will be forgiven by me personally. That is right, for only a small fee you too can walk free and in grace."

I'd do it, but I'm sure someone has all ready beaten me to the punch. George Zimmerman certainly did.

Free enterprise and American justice. Who can top that duo?



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