Florida taxpayers might end up footing the bill for George Zimmerman’s legal fees after his recent acquittal in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O'Mara, said he plans to ask the state to cover $200,000-$300,000 of his client's legal expenses. O'Mara said since Zimmerman was acquitted, state law requires Florida to pay all his legal costs, minus the fee that goes to his lawyers.
A motion asking Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson to authorize the payments "is in the works," O'Mara said. The money, which would pay for fees associated with expert witnesses, travel, depositions, photocopies and other things would come from the state’s Judicial Administrative Commission.
The JCA is expected to challenge many of the costs.
O'Mara said he has worked on Zimmerman’s case for 40 hours a week for 16 months. At $400-an-hour, he would be owed slightly more than $1 million.
Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted last month of all charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Martin. His murder trial lasted five weeks. NAACP President Ben Jealous said his organization collected petitions with more than 1.7 million signatures calling for charges to be filed against Zimmerman for violating Martin's civil rights.
It has been reported that the petitions were going to be turned over to the Department of Justice on Monday afternoon, Fox News reported.