“I hope the critics give it a more global perspective,” O’Mara said. “What they were facing. The state wanted to keep George Zimmerman in jail for a year – his family was homeless, jobless … ” O’Mara said he was “not excusing him,” but that Zimmerman “owned up to” the untruths “right away, and transferred the money right away.”
O’Mara has said the more than $209,000 raised by Zimmerman’s defense fund so far is controlled by an outside entity.
But Morgan also wanted to know if O’Mara himself felt lied to by his client.
“How confident do you feel,” Morgan asked, given that he was also lied to about the amount of money in the PayPal account. “Can you believe him about the more serious issues?”
O’Mara said he never asked Zimmerman about the account prior to the bond hearing, and that “the first time I asked him, he owned up to it.”
Asked whether he feared his client would not be released from jail — a June 29 bond hearing has been set — O’Mara acknowledged that Judge Kenneth Lester had “put his neck out” for Zimmerman in April, “no question. He allowed him to stay in secrecy with some additional freedoms,” but that Zimmerman and his wife didn’t trust that “favor” was coming their way. Because of that, he said the earliest Zimmerman could expect to be released would be “in a month or so,” but that his client could conceivably endure the entire trial “in jail.”
During the interview, O’Mara also acknowledged that Zimmerman had suggested that his wife and O’Mara purchase bulletproof vests. “There have been a number of threats,” he said. “They are concerned, they want to protect those that they care about and I am included in that now.”
As to whether he feels endangered, O’Mara demurred.
“I have represented people much more nasty than George Zimmerman — or how people see him,” O’Mara said. “I trust the process, and know he does, too.”
NBC News researcher Naima Lynch contributed to this report. Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport