I believe Mark O’Mara should withdraw as counsel for George Zimmerman because he is not acting in his client’s best interests. Instead, he appears to be acting in what he perceives to be his own best interests by constantly talking to the press, making himself available for interviews by mainstream media TV, and making questionable pitches for dollars on his website to fund his effort to represent his client.
There also is the disturbing matter of whether he knew his client had raised a substantial sum of money from contributions by donors at his client’s original funding website (therealgeorgezimmerman.com).
On April 12th, Mark O’Mara filed Defendant’s Motion for Reasonable Bail asserting that his client was indigent.
George Zimmerman said.
GZ: Mark O’Mara is going to try and get me declared indigent. I told him that I didn’t think that was a possibility because you know there was the one possible transfer I tried to make and it got stopped, you know the $37. [37 is code for $37,000]
He said ‘well that doesn’t matter. Right now you are not working, not providing an income for your family, you are probably never going to be employable for the rest of your life. So basically they will declare you indigent.
Male: ah ah
GZ: So he knows about that. um But he …
Male: Does he know about the volume
GZ: And uh …
Male: I’d like to keep that with us
GZ: Ok I think so too.
At the bond hearing on April 20th, Mark O’Mara did not disclose the $37,000. Instead, he represented to the court that his client had no money.
As we subsequently discovered, during the period between the phone call and the hearing, Shellie Zimmerman transferred $155,000 from the internet account into George Zimmerman’s personal account at a credit union and then she transferred that money into her personal account and his sister’s account, all pursuant to George Zimmerman’s explicit instructions. Therefore, on the date of the bail hearing, there was very little money in the internet account and George Zimmerman’s personal account. The money was transferred back into his personal account after he got out of jail. He then proceeded to spend $36,000 paying off some bills and purchasing two $300 smart phones with a two-year prepaid Verizon account and a two year internet access account, among other things.
Shellie Zimmerman testified by telephone at the bail hearing claiming she and her husband were indigent. She denied any knowledge of how much money, if any, had been donated to the internet account.
She has since been charged with perjury.
Judge Lester revoked George Zimmerman’s bond for misrepresenting his assets at the bond hearing.
In my opinion, any reasonably experienced and competent lawyer at this point would have backed off on the full court press to promote a false image of his client as a young and somewhat naive person “who was fearful and experienced a moment of weakness and who may also have acted out of a sense of betrayal by the system.” See Judge Lester’s Order Setting Bail below.
Nevertheless, at the second bail hearing on June 29th, Mark O’Mara attempted to excuse his client’s misconduct by saying he was exactly that.
Judge Lester did not buy it. Although he set bail in the amount of $1,000,000 based on Florida law that left him no other alternative (thereby brushing aside O’Mara’s presentation of character evidence as irrelevant) in his order setting bail, at page 2, he said:
Under any definition, the Defendant has flaunted the system. Counsel has attempted to portray the Defendant as being a confused young man who was fearful and experienced a moment of weakness and who may also have acted out of a sense of betrayal by the system. Based on all of the evidence presented, this Court finds the opposite. The Defendant has tried to manipulate the system when he has been presented the opportunity to do so. He is an adult by every legal definition; Trayvon Martin is the only male whose youth is relevant to this case. The Defendant has taken courses in criminal justice with the intention of becoming a police officer, an attorney, a judge, or a magistrate like his father. He has been arrested before, having entered and successfully completed a pretrial intervention program. He has also obtained an injunction and had an injunction obtained against him. The injunction against him has obviously been dissolved at some point for him to have validly obtained a permit to carry the firearm used to shoot Trayvon Martin. He also had the wherewithal to set up a website to collect donations to help defray the costs of his defense. Thus, before this tragic incident, the defendant had a very sophisticated knowledge of the criminal justice system over and above that of the average, law abiding citizen.
One would think, he would have breathed a sigh of relief that his client bailed out and reconsidered the wisdom of placing his client’s character in evidence before the court of public opinion.
Nope. He doubled down and while doing so, he forgot to appeal and seek a stay from Judge Lester’s order directing the prosecution to release incredibly damaging evidence to the public; specifically, W9’s claim that George Zimmerman (her cousin) had sexually molested her multiple times over a period of 10 years when she was 6-16 years old. Zimmerman was two-years older.
That evidence exploded on the public two days ago and now he’s going to appear with George Zimmerman on the Sean Hannity Show to discuss the case and no doubt trash W9.
Meanwhile, he made the following pitch on his website:
For those who have given in the past, for those who have thought about giving, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman was justified in his actions, for those who feel they would do the same if they were in Mr. Zimmerman’s shoes, for those that think Mr. Zimmerman has been treated unfairly by the media, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman has been falsely accused as a racist, for those who feel this case is an affront to their constitutional rights — now is the time to show your support.
He also filed Defendant’s Verified Motion to Disqualify Trial Judge alleging that Zimmerman fears getting a fair SYG hearing before Judge Lester because the judge said bad things about him and is obviously prejudiced against him.
As the prosecution noted at page 8 in its Response to the Defendant’s Verified Motion to Disqualify Trial Judge,
On June 1st, he told Anderson Cooper of CNN News:
There is no question that they knew about the money, actually in a previous correspondence to the judge, we had acknowledged that. The question of whether or not they had presented it properly, I think it was somewhat misleading to the court. I’ve gone over that with George.
On June 3rd, the Orlando Sentinel reported:
O’Mara acknowledged the problem his client faces in securing a new bond. “There is a credibility question that needs to be explained away,” he said. O’Mara added that “Zimmerman’s credibility has been tarnished and he will have to rehabilitate it.”
On June 4th, he posted the following statement on his website (gzlegalcase.com):
While Mr. Zimmerman acknowledges that he allowed his financial situation to be misstated in court . . . The audio recordings of Mr. Zimmerman’s phone conversations while in jail make it clear that Mr. Zimmerman knew that a significant sum had been raised by his original funding website.”
On June 29th, ABC Action News reported:
This prosecutor has made a very specific showing that his case is strong,” O’Mara said. “It was important for us to counter that.”
Since he makes no valid legal argument in support of the relief he requests, I expect Judge Lester will deny the motion.
Filing a frivolous motion did not help his client.
The Rules of Professional Conduct mandate that a lawyer shall represent the best interests of the client to the best of his ability.
I see a lawyer who has placed self-interest in surfing media attention to fame and fortune above the best interests of his client. He acts like a moth driven to the flame and I see nothing good coming out of this for himself and his client. I therefore think he needs to withdraw.
George Zimmerman appears to be the quintessential difficult client who probably wants and may even be directing O’Mara to do these things. But public revulsion and disgust are not in his best interest.
He needs to shut up and so does his lawyer.