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Zimmerman website raised over $200,000

The now-defunct website that George Zimmerman set up to solicit donations from supporters raised more than $200,000, his lawyer said Friday in a Florida courtroom -- one week after Zimmerman's family argued that it had meager assets with which to pay his bond.

The new development could prompt Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr. to increase the $150,000 bond he set earlier, though the judge said Friday that he wanted to know more about who controls the money before deciding.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the February slaying of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

Zimmerman, 28, who is half white, half Peruvian, acknowledges that he shot the 17-year-old, but says he did so in self-defense. Law enforcement officials' original decision not to arrest him sparked a national outcry.

Zimmerman established the website,, earlier this month and used it to solicit funds for his legal defense and living expenses. His attorney, Mark O'Mara, instructed him to shut it down, and it disappeared from the Web earlier this week.

At Friday's court hearing, O'Mara told the judge that he didn't find out about the funds until after last week's bond hearing. Zimmerman was released from jail less than 72 hours later.

A week earlier, Florida prosecutors had asked Lester to deny bond, or set it at $1 million, arguing that Zimmerman has a violent past.

Friday, Assistant State Attorney Bernardo de la Rionda said the new information represented a "change in circumstances" and asked the court to raise the bond amount.

"The [Zimmerman] family members represented that they had no money, when in truth they really did," he told the judge. "I don't know if they did that intentionally or what."

Lester instead instructed O'Mara to give him more details about the PayPal account linked to the website, so that he could evaluate his options under the law. "Before I can make a decision concerning this, I need to see who had control over that account," the judge said.

The $200,000 in website fundraising is the latest in a string of actions by Zimmerman that has upset the Martin family. Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for Martin's parents, told the Associated Press before the hearing that they hoped bail would be revoked.

"This is a bombshell that was dropped," Crump told the AP, adding that the parents were offended that the court was not made aware of the fund earlier.

At last week's bond hearing, Zimmerman's mother, father and wife took the stand and described their resources as meager. Wife Shelly Zimmerman said she and her husband rented their town house and that she was a nursing student with no income.

When de la Rionda asked her if she knew how much money the website had raised, she said she didn't know.