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George Zimmerman's wife pleads guilty to perjury, apologizes to judge

Shellie Zimmerman, shown here in court last month, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of perjury and got probation and community service.
Shellie Zimmerman, shown here in court last month, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of perjury and got probation and community service.Joe Burbank/Getty Images

George Zimmerman's wife Shellie pleaded guilty Wednesday to a perjury charge for misleading a Florida court about her family's finances during a bail hearing.

Her plea deal — in which she avoided a felony conviction and was sentenced to a year's probation and 100 hours of community service — comes six weeks after her husband was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

George Zimmerman, shown here in court in July, was acquitted of second-degree murder. His wife pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge.
George Zimmerman, shown here in court in July, was acquitted of second-degree murder. His wife pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge.Joe Burbank/Getty Images, File

Prosecutors had accused Shellie Zimmerman of failing to disclose a $135,000 donation fund set up through PayPal during her husband's bail hearing, even though she was allegedly heard discussing the account over a jailhouse phone.

Originally charged with a felony count of perjury, the nursing student pleaded guilty to a lesser charge that will not stop her from applying for health-care jobs.

In a note to the judge, she apologized for lying under oath.

"On April 20, 2012, I testified that my husband and I had no money to put towards a bond.  At that time, we could have paid for a bond out of the contributions to my husband's legal fund," she wrote.

"I was aware that what I was saying was not true and chose to take a path that I now regret with all my heart," she continued.

"By lying under oath," she added, "I let God down, I let your Honor and the court down, I let my family and friends down, and, most of all, I let myself down."

After her misstatements came to light, her husband's bail was revoked. However, he was released on bond before being tried for second-degree murder.

The Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch volunteer said he acted in self-defense when he shot Martin, 17, when the two crossed paths in a gated community on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman, who is of white and Hispanic descent, has denied race played a role in the shooting of the black teen.

His acquittal sparked an outpouring of protest, comment from the White House, and calls to repeal Stand Your Ground self-defense laws in Florida and other states.