SANFORD, Fla. - Defendant George Zimmerman and his legal team reportedly want presiding judge Kenneth Lester thrown off the case, but this time around, the judge refuses to step down, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
This is the second judge Zimmerman and his defense lawyer Mark O'Mara has gone after. The first presiding judge, Jessica Recksiedler, stepped down after claims of her having a conflict of interest surfaced. Her husband had worked with a lawyer Zimmerman wanted as his defense attorney. This lawyer did not take the job, but referred current attorney O'Mara.
This time around. Judge Lester says he will not be going anywhere despite the defense complaint that client Zimmerman fears he will not get a fair trial after the judge said he knowingly deceived the court about large sums of money he had stashed away in PayPal accounts and also threatened to slap him with contempt charges in the future.
According to a Huffington Post article, Judge In George Zimmerman Case Refuses To Step Down by Trymaine Lee, the second-degree murder defendant feels the judge cannot impartially preside over the case, which is odd, considering the amount of breaks he has gotten after he and his wife's subterfuge.
First of all, Judge Lester had initially set his bail at $150,000, low to many critics, considering the murder charge. Zimmerman and family only had to pay a small fraction of that amount, $15,000 to be exact.
After he was released on bond in April, the prosecution petitioned the court to have his bail revoked, which the judge granted a few weeks later after saying he needed some time to deliberate. Zimmerman, along with his wife Shellie, were hauled back into custody because they reportedly lied about their financial status. Shellie was quickly set free on $1,000 bond.
Jailhouse phone recordings later revealed them speaking in code about hundreds of thousands of dollars hidden away in online accounts--money collected from a website Zimmerman had created to solicit donations from supporters.
No one knows exactly who these donors are, but more than $204,000 was collected, according to lawyer O'Mara. That sum seem to change as the story unfolded. What the court did find was that Zimmerman and Shellie made several huge tranfers while telling the court they were broke.
Zimmerman also did not disclose a passport he had. Judge Lester reprimanded him for this, saying that the large sums of money coupled with the hidden passport made him a flight risk and that he could have skipped town while out on his first granted bond.
Apparently Zimmerman now has issues with the judge saying this, along with contempt charges hanging over his head. But are his claims of bias on the bench warranted? Contrary to what this defendant is saying, maybe this judge has bent over backwards a tad too much because after all this, the neighborhood watchman was granted bail a second time. This time, it was in the amount of $1 million. He quickly paid the required percentage for he has another website which his lawyer has set up, once again to solicit donations. ABC News reported that this site, GZLegalcase.com, collects about $1,000 a day.
Charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin of Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, Zimmerman, 28, seems to be getting break after break from the court yet he is complaining of unfair treatment.
After his second release and his wife's perjury charge, Zimmerman gave his first television interview, where he sat down with one of the friends over at Fox News, during which he said something utterly astonishing. He told Sean Hannity that he didn't regret a thing, would not do anything differently if he had to relive that fatal night and that Martin's death was "God's plan." Incidentally, he had also promised ABC's Barbara Walters an interview but the television debut was a "no-show" after Walters refused to meet their demands. Zimmerman allegedly wanted a month's worth of protection and hotel stay. The next day, he called into Walters talk show "The View" to give a telephone interview but she turned him down.
Read more on that interview and see video by clicking link below: