The lawyer for the man accused of killing unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin announced on Tuesday a former IRS agent has been hired to oversee his client’s defense fund.
Last week, attorney Mark O’Mara revealed that his client, George Zimmerman, managed to raise more than $200,000 in just a few weeks using a crudely built website and a PayPal account to take donations for his defense in a case that has drawn international attention.
After ordering Zimmerman to shut down the first website, O’Mara set up a new one last week to begin posting updates about the case. He also said he eventually plans to use it to start taking donations again.
On Tuesday, a post appeared on the site saying the former IRS agent had been hired watch over Zimmerman’s money. The post, however, did not name the ex-agent, saying only that the person currently works as an accountant overseeing bankruptcy funds.
“The fund’s administrator will have sole discretion regarding the dispersal of funds, and guidelines will be put in place to define reasonable living expenses for Mr. Zimmerman and his family and to fund necessary legal expenses,” it said. “Neither Mr. Zimmerman nor The O’Mara Law Group will have direct access to the funds.”
The site also said the names of the donors would be kept private.
“There will be a strict level of confidentiality regarding those who donate to the George Zimmerman Defense Fund as their active donating is regarded as a private event and does not open them to public scrutiny,” it said.
However, the judge presiding over the case said last week he wanted to know more about the donations and asked O’Mara to provide him with more information.
Zimmerman was charged last month with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 killing of the teen. Florida prosecutors have accused Zimmerman of following and confronting Martin because he believed the teen looked “suspicious.” However, Zimmerman said Martin attacked him first and he shot him in self defense.
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him: nick [at] talkingpointsmemo.com