George Zimmerman to ask Florida to pay legal bills

George Zimmerman will seek about $300,000 from the state of Florida to cover his legal bills. George Zimmerman is entitled to the money under Florida law, says his lawyer.

By , Associated Press

George Zimmerman's attorney has told a newspaper that he plans to ask the state of Florida to cover $200,000 to $300,000 of his legal expenses.

The Orlando Sentinel says Mark O'Mara told the paper Monday evening that because Zimmerman was acquitted, state law requires Florida to pay all his legal costs.

O'Mara said Monday that was going to make a motion asking Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson to authorize the payments.

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The 29-year-old Zimmerman was acquitted last month of all charges including second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, last year. His murder trial lasted five weeks. The state of Florida spent almost $1 million in prosecuting Zimmerman.

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

For months leading up to the trial, Zimmerman lived in hiding, had no job and lived off donations to his legal defense fund. At one point, he tried to solicit donations by promising each donor a handwritten, signed thank-you note.

Several times in the months leading up to the trial, O'Mara said that defense funds were so low he might be forced to ask the judge to declare Zimmerman indigent, and thus, require the state to pay his legal bills. But that never happened.

This upcoming motion, however, would have the same effect.

It 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.

O'Mara told the Sentinel that Zimmerman has paid him nothing for his work on the case. At $400-an-hour, he would be owed slightly more than $1 million.

An after-hours email sent to defense attorneys was not immediately answered.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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