George Zimmerman asks Florida to pay $300,000 of Trayvon Martin case costs


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The Independent US

George Zimmerman, the man cleared last month of second-degree murder and manslaughter over the killing of the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, will ask the state of Florida to pay up to $300,000 (£193,000) of his legal expenses, his lawyer said today.

Mr Zimmerman, a Neighbourhood Watch captain will rely on state law that allows a defendant who has been found not guilty to be reimbursed for costs associated with a case, the Orlando Sentinel newspaper reported.

Mark O’Mara, a lawyer for Mr Zimmerman, 29, told the Sentinel that he would prepare a motion seeking authorisation of the payments and submit that to the judge who presided over the case. Mr O’Mara could not be reached for further comment last night.

Mr Zimmerman could not recoup his lawyer’s fees under the law, but he could seek costs related to the trial such as expenditures for expert witnesses and an animated video that defence lawyers showed to jurors. The costs could range between $200,000 and $300,000, the newspaper said.

Mr Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter on 13 July in Florida after a racially charged trial in the shooting of Trayvon, a 17-year-old African-American, in February 2012. Thousands of people demonstrated across the US after the verdict.

Mr Zimmerman was a volunteer neighbourhood watch member in the central Florida town of Sanford at the time of the shooting and said that he had acted in self-defence.