Shellie Zimmerman Arrested, Charged With Perjury
You can read the capias and affidavit for her arrest here. The Affidavit says the money was transferred not only by Shellie Zimmerman into her and George's accounts at the credit union, but also using George's sister's account at the credit union. It also includes transcripts of additional jail calls, none of them good for George Zimmerman. The state says the calls show they transferred and withdrew money from a safety deposit box, and that many of Shellie's deposits and withdrawals were in amounts of $9,000.00, $9,990.00 or $9,999.00, which some might argue shows an intent to evade federal currency reporting requirements. He also directed her to use some of the money to pay their bills.
ABC breaks down the charges here. [More...]
Does this have anything to do with the murder charge against Zimmerman? No. Does it make it more or less likely he acted in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin? No. Does it mean he should not receive bond on June 29? No. We still don't know why he thought that money was not available to him for bond. All we know is that his lawyer has repeatedly said that for whatever reason, he didn't think it was.
Keep in mind, charges are not evidence, and Shellie Zimmerman, like her husband, is entitled to the presumption of innocence, both in a court of law and on TalkLeft. You can state your opinion, but you can not declare either one guilty of anything. And if your opinion is they did something wrong, please limit your comments expressing that to no more than four in this thread. Comments in excess of that amount or that declare either one guilty will be deleted.
So it is fair to ask, having charged perjury, what is the specific false statement made by Shellie Zimmerman? The Criminal Information (embedded at the bottom of this post) does not say. Instead, the accompanying Affidvit recites testimony, phone call transcripts, and evidence of money received and transferred. Again, that all is relevant to whether George deceived the Court at the bond hearing.
But nowhere in the criminal Information or Affidavit of Probable Cause is a specific sentence or set of words identified as false with an explanation of why it was false.
Prof. Jacobson cites a Florida case on perjury, Cohen v. State, 985 So.2d 1207 (Fla. App. 3 Dist. 2008):
This Court has held that statements alleged to be perjurious must be of “empirical fact” and not of opinion, belief or perception…. One of the essential elements of perjury in official proceedings is that the person making the statement does not believe it to be true… The questions posed to elicit perjured testimony must be asked with the appropriate specificity necessary to result in an equally specific statement of fact.He also points out, as does a commenter on his site, that the state's attorney truncated the transcript of Shellie Z's testimony in the affidavit for her charge omitting that she said her brother-in-law would know and he was available. I brought this up in the context of the hearing to revoke George Zimmerman's bond:
The judge based his June 1 ruling on the state's motion, which didn't even accurately describe the wife's testimony. It left out the part about her brother-in-law knowing how much money was in the account. The exhibit to its motion was three pages of the transcript, pages 15, 26 and 27. One page did have the language omitted from the motion, but who knows if the judge even bothered to read the exhibit -- he probably wouldn't think he needed to fact-check the state's attorney. The judge hadn't reviewed all the tapes, there were over 150 of them, and the state evidently didn't provide transcripts except as to the portions it cherry-picked.
In his closing argument on April 20, O'Mara said he (O-Mara) didn't know how much money was in the website account. The Judge didn't say "Well, find out and get back to me", he said O'Mara's motion for bond "was well taken." The Judge knew there was a fund on April 20 because the Prosecutor had cross-examined Shellie on it. The judge heard her say her brother-in-law was available by phone and could answer the question. If it was so important to the Judge, why didn't he say, "let's get him on the phone, I need to know that."
My new word for the day: ellipsis. I wish I knew that was what it was when writing about the NBC mis-edits, I could have been so much more succinct.
Note that in the Affidavit of Probable Cause the prosecution did not use an ellipsis or any other indication to show that words were omitted.
As Prof. Jacobsen's commenter notes, the misleading truncation in Shellie's affidavit is reminiscent of what the state did in George's affidavit, when it left out that George sustained injuries and claimed Trayvon attacked him. It's presenting the judge with half-truths. If this is how the state tells the truth when sworn under oath, it may have more credibility problems than George or Shellie. Maybe we'll hear more from Dershowitz on this soon.
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