George Zimmerman's wife pleads guilty to perjury charge

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by Chris Patterson

(CNN) -- Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of George Zimmerman -- who was acquitted of second-degree murder in Trayvon Martin's death -- pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of perjury.

 
She will be placed on probation for one year, is required to perform 100 hours of community service, and must pay court costs. She also must file a letter of apology within 30 days to Judge Kenneth Lester, who presided over her husband's case at the time the perjury was committed.
 
Prosecutors said Shellie Zimmerman lied when she told Lester during an April 2012 bond hearing for her husband that the family was indigent. In fact, they argue, George Zimmerman actually had about $135,000 at the time.
 
Recorded jailhouse phone calls between the couple caught the two speaking in code about their finances.
 
By pleading guilty to a lesser charge of perjury not in an official proceeding, she avoided the original third-degree felony offense -- perjury during an official proceeding -- that could have meant time in prison.
 
George Zimmerman was acquitted by a six-person jury in July on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
 
Shellie Zimmerman's guilty plea comes one day after her husband's attorney revealed plans to file a reimbursement request to the state of Florida for expenses incurred during his trial.
 
Under Florida law, an acquitted defendant cannot be held liable for court costs or any charges while detained in custody, as long as a clerk or judge consents to the refund.
 
The costs may include money spent for expert witnesses, travel expenses and fees for transcripts -- but do not include any attorney's fees.

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