Though he and his fellow defense lawyers took the case pro bono, he said after all the money issues are settled, he’d like to be paid something. State statute on acquittal fees prohibits Florida from paying for privately secured counsel. So any pay for the lawyers’ services would likely come from money they are seeking to recoup from prosecutors.
In a motion, the defense claims prosecutors held back evidence before the trial, and O’Mara estimates that he and co-counsel Don West spent more than 200 hours trying to secure those documents. They want to be paid for their time. Any money awarded in that motion would go directly to the attorneys.
“That’s the only way we could get attorneys’ fees paid for by the state in any form or fashion,” O’Mara said.
He said he anticipates the hearing on the possible sanctions, which hasn’t been scheduled yet, could take up a few days, and he plans to call state attorney Angela Corey and Zimmerman prosecutors to the stand.
As for the expenses he is seeking from the JAC, O’Mara said he only anticipates that $50,000 will be authorized. For the rest, the defense has the option of suing the agency, which would then put the final decision in the hands of circuit court judge. All other costs would be Zimmerman’s responsibility. O’Mara said he isn’t sure how much Zimmerman is still raising from donations to his website, but that it has slowed since his acquittal.
“George incurred this cost, period. His donors have helped out with those costs, but to the extent that that doesn’t cover it, then he’s going to have to figure out a way to pay these people back,” O’Mara said. “Some of these experts were willing to work with us because they realized the magnetism of the case and the absurdity of the prosecution against him.”