AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joshua C. Cruey
It took a nationwide groundswell of anger and protest the first time around to get George Zimmerman booked and jailed for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. All it took this time was an order from one man.
The same Sanford, FL jail that George Zimmerman left on April 23 welcomed him back today, as he beat the 3:00pm deadline that Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester set for his return. As we noted on Friday, Zimmerman, who fatally shot the teenager in late February, had his $150,000 bond revoked when it was discovered that he and his wife been less than truthful about his existence of and his access to at least $135,000 of the over $200,000 deposited in his PayPal account by folks eager to contribute to his defense.
That Zimmerman and his wife conspired to keep the money secret is one thing; that he didn't relinquish his second passport and offered a suspect excuse for it is another. The dilemma that keeps coming up to me is the same that Caroline Bankoff noted today in New York Magazine:
The judge has promised that Zimmerman will be given the chance to "explain himself" in court shortly, but all this (alleged) shadiness is not doing much for his credibility — something he'll need quite badly when the case goes to trial, as much of the jury's decision will rest on his personal account of what happened the night he shot Martin.
Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, didn't seem to know what would come out of his client's mouth when he put him on the stand in the first bond hearing, having been allegedly surprised by the killer's unsolicited courtroom apology to Trayvon's parents. His legal team indicated on their website that they'll request another bond hearing, thereby giving Zimmerman that chance to "explain himself."
It will be very interesting to see whether O'Mara will give his client the chance to do so, now or ever. I'm no attorney, but Zimmerman's credibility was faulty at best prior to his lying about his finances. This doesn't help. I think I'm being kind when I say that the idea of Zimmerman taking the stand and explaining that lie in court would be an interesting strategy, at best.
Either way, Zimmerman is off the streets -- possibly until a trial starts, which could be as late as next year. Zimmerman's name came up in the context of Melissa's examination of urban violence today. Both segments of that conversation are below the jump.
Prior to that, watch the MSNBC breaking-news coverage of the O'Mara press conference given shortly after Zimmerman turned himself in.
Seminole County, Fla., Sheriff Donald Eslinger and George Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, speak at a news conference after the former neighborhood watch volunteer surrenders to police.
Melissa Harris-Perry covers the wave of gun violence across the country and also north of America's border as youth unemployment and governmental program cuts take a toll. Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and former Mayor of New Orleans, joins the show to discuss.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg last month proposed a budget that slashes the number of after-school programs in order to save the city $ 19 million. Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and former Mayor of New Orleans, along with The Hill columnist Karen Finney, former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, and hip hop DJ Jay Smooth join to discuss the budget cut impacts on urban violence.