Report: Zimmerman to Ask Florida to Cover Legal Expenses

Report: Zimmerman to Ask Florida to Cover Legal Expenses

George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty on murder charges related to the death of Trayvon Martin, will reportedly ask the state of Florida to cover $200,000 to $300,000 of his legal expenses.

Mark O’Mara, his attorney, told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that a “motion is in the works.”

As the Sentinel noted, “because Zimmerman was acquitted, state law requires Florida to pay all his legal costs, minus the biggest one: the fee that goes to his lawyers.” This would include “the cost of expert witnesses, travel, depositions, photocopies, even that animated 3-D video that defense attorneys showed jurors during closing argument that depicts Trayvon punching Zimmerman.”

Because “for months leading up to the trial, Zimmerman lived in hiding, had no job and lived off donations to his legal defense fund,” his attorney said that he considered asking the judge to “declare Zimmerman indigent, and thus, require the state to pay his legal bills. But that never happened.”

The motion “would be based on Florida Statute 939.06, which states that a defendant who has been acquitted is not liable for any costs associated with his case and, if he or she paid anything, they would be due a refund, if approved by a judge or clerk,” and “the money would come from the Judicial Administrative Commission, the state agency that pays the non-lawyer legal expenses of indigent defendants.”

O’Mara “said he would ask the judge to certify the costs he submits. He then expects the commission, which is commonly referred to as JAC, to challenge many.”

Zimmerman has not yet paid O’Mara, who charges $400 an hour. O’Mara reportedly worked “40 hours a week for 16 months” and would be owed “slightly more than $1 million.” The Sentinel notes the $1 million figure does not include work done by Don West, his co-counsel who bills at $350 an hour, or Lorna Truett, O’Mara’a law partner.