SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — George Zimmerman's wife pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying during a bail hearing after her husband's arrest, and she was sentenced to a year's probation and 100 hours of community service.
Shellie Zimmerman, 26, had been charged with felony perjury after she lied about the couple's assets during a bail hearing following her husband's arrest for the fatal 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted last month of second-degree murder. Shellie Zimmerman had been charged with a felony and, if convicted, had faced up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. She had given her bail-hearing testimony by telephone last year because of safety concerns for Zimmerman's family.
As part of the deal, Shellie Zimmerman wrote a letter of apology to Judge Kenneth Lester, who presided over last year's bail hearing.
Shellie Zimmerman misled the court because she had been told by others to say "maybe that's not my money," her attorney, Kelly Sims, said after the hearing.
"But in her heart, you know, if it walks like a duck and looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it's a duck," Sims said. "She was calling from a phone. She was scared. Her husband was locked up. She didn't know what was going on. So, she stood by her man, like Tammy Wynette says. She's accepting responsibility."
Prosecutor John Guy said he agreed to the deal because Shellie Zimmerman didn't have a prior criminal record and the misdemeanor plea would allow her to pursue her nursing career.
"The important thing is that she apologized to Judge Lester for what she did," said Guy, who helped prosecute Zimmerman unsuccessfully. "The proof is not in question in this case. It was only a matter of what should be done as far as the disposition."
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.