According to CNN reporter Jason Hanna and Steve Almasy, Florida judge on Tuesday set a bail for George Zimmerman at $9,000 and ordered a number of conditions for his release which included no possession of weapons — while he awaits trial on charges he pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend.
Zimmerman was arrested this past Monday at his girlfriend’s Apopka home, only four months after he was acquitted of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin, might post bail Wednesday morning after all the conditions for his release are arranged, a public defender representing him said.
Zimmerman said little as a judge, during Zimmerman’s first appearance Tuesday afternoon in Seminole County court, said he found probable cause for Zimmerman’s arrest on a felony charge of aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of domestic violence battery and criminal mischief. Zimmerman’s arraignment is scheduled for January 7.
A prosecutor revealed a new allegation against Zimmerman while trying to argue for a higher bail — that Zimmerman tried to choke his girlfriend a week and a half before Monday’s alleged shotgun incident, and that Zimmerman had talked about suicide.
Bail debates continue; Assistant State Attorney Lymary Munoz argued for $50,000 bail, saying that the new information should heighten concern for the accuser’s safety, though the alleged incident hadn’t been reported to police.
The new allegation is not reflected in the preliminary charges. But Judge Fred Schott cited the choking accusation when he put the bail at $9,000, saying it prompted him to set it higher than the $4,900 requested by the defense.
Jeff Dowdy and Daniel Megaro, the public defenders representing Zimmerman, told reporters afterward that they hadn’t known of the choking allegation previously.
“That was news to us,” Dowdy said. “… That was not contained in the arrest report, and that’s the first we’ve heard about it.”
Schott put conditions on Zimmerman’s bail: He cannot go to two Florida addresses; he cannot have contact with the accuser, Samantha Scheibe; he cannot possess weapons; he must wear a monitoring device; as well as he cannot travel outside Florida.
Megaro told reporters he was certain Zimmerman would be acquitted. Dowdy said Zimmerman would post bail perhaps by Wednesday, “regroup and try to address the charges.”
“He’s maintained his innocence, I’ll tell you that,” Dowdy said
Megaro was asked about Scheibe’s alleged claims that Zimmerman talked about suicide.
“He’s back in jail. Obviously that causes a certain amount of anxiety and stress on somebody. I would not characterize him as what the state attorney has said, meaning he’s suicidal and volatile. We did not get that impression from him,” Megaro said.
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