George Zimmerman's Wife Pleads Guilty To Perjury

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 28 2013 11:55 AM

George Zimmerman's Wife Pleads Guilty To Perjury

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George Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman, enters the courtroom following a recess in his trial in Seminole circuit court June 20, 2013 in Sanford, Florida

Photo by Gary W. Green-Pool/Getty Images

Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, won't be a convicted felon after all. On Wednesday morning, the 26-year-old pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor perjury charge for lying about her husband's financial status and the couple's assets during his bond hearing last April.

At the time, Shellie Zimmerman testified that the couple had limited funds to pay for George Zimmerman's bail, something that seemed plausible given she was a full-time nursing school student and her husband was out of work at the time. In reality though, the couple had already raised $135,000 in donations from a website that was meant for those who wanted to help George Zimmerman defend himself. Here's the Associated Press with a quick refresher with what happened:

Court records show that in the days before the bond hearing in June 2012, Shellie Zimmerman transferred $74,000 — broken into eight smaller transfers ranging from $7,500 to $9,990 — from her husband's credit union account to hers. It also shows that $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman's account to his sister's in the days before the bond hearing. Amounts of over $10,000 would have been reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
Four days after he was released on bond, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $85,500 from her account into her husband's account, records show. They also show that the jail recorded George Zimmerman instructing her on a call to "pay off all the bills," including an American Express and Sam's Club card.
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When Shellie Zimmerman was caught lying to the court, her husband was put back into jail — this time with a hefty $1 million bond. Though she had originally been charged with felony perjury (which came with the possibility of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine), a judge lessened the charge since she had no prior criminal record.

Under the deal, Shellie Zimmerman was sentenced to a year's probation, 100 hours of community service, and was required to write a letter of apology to the judge whom she lied to.

Jennifer Lai is an associate editor at Slate. Slate Plus members, email her here.