Zimmerman’s wife pleads not guilty on perjury charge

Posted at 8:20 PM, Jul 30, 2012
(CNN) — The wife of George Zimmerman will not be at her scheduled arraignment Tuesday after pleading not guilty to perjury for allegedly lying about the family’s finances as her husband faced murder charges, a court official said.

Shellie Zimmerman’s lawyer, Kelly Sims, on Friday entered a written not guilty plea and waiver for her not to personally appear at her arraignment, Seminole County, Florida, court spokeswoman Michelle Kennedy said Monday.

“Neither Ms. Zimmerman or her attorney are required to attend the arraignment,” Kennedy said by e-mail. ” “Ms. Zimmerman’s name will remain on the docket, but her case will not be called.”

Shellie Zimmerman was arrested June 12 on perjury charges, 11 days after Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. revoked her husband’s bond and ordered him back to jail for misrepresenting how much money the family had when he initially set his bond in April. Prosecutors say he had $135,000 at the time Zimmerman’s wife told the court under oath that they were indigent.

The 25-year-old Shellie Zimmerman was released on bond later that day, and had been set to be formally arraigned Tuesday.

Her husband, who has been free on $1 million bail since early July, faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager who died in Sanford, Florida, in February. A probable cause affidavit claims Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch volunteer, “profiled” Martin and disregarded a police dispatcher’s request that he await the arrival of police prior to the shooting.

George Zimmerman, 28, was arrested in April. While in jail before his initial bond hearing, prosecutors said — and Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara has acknowledged — that he and his wife spoke in code by phone when discussing their available funds.

Those talks included the transfer of money from George Zimmerman’s account to accounts of his sister and wife, according to an affidavit prepared by an investigator with the State Attorney’s office.

Records show $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman’s account to his sister’s account from April 16 and 17, authorities allege. Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $74,000 from her husband’s account to her account from April 16 to April 19, the affidavit states.

George Zimmerman asked his wife in jail calls to “pay off all the bills,” including an American Express bill and a Sam’s Club card, prosecutors allege.

At her husband’s April 20 bond hearing, Shellie Zimmerman was asked whether the couple had financial means to assist in his defense.

“Uhm, not — not that I’m aware of,” she replied, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Four days later, after her husband was released from prison on bond, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $85,500 from her account back to George Zimmerman’s account, according to the affidavit.

Kennedy, the court spokeswoman, also said Monday that she expected Lester to issue a ruling “sometime this week,” though she did not indicate what it would be about.

Earlier in July, Zimmerman filed a motion in circuit court saying Zimmerman cannot get a fair trial because Lester used “gratuitous, disparaging” language in his second bail order.

“Mr. Zimmerman has lost faith in the objectivity of this court and has a reasonable, well-founded fear that he will not receive a fair trial by this court,” his defense attorney said in the document.