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Zimmerman has new defense fund plan

Nov. 29, 2012 at 5:16 PM

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- George Zimmerman, the Florida man who says he killed an unarmed black teenager in self-defense, has a new fundraising plan to pay his legal expenses.

The plan outlined Wednesday on his defense fund website calls for donors to get signed thank-you notes, The Miami Herald reported. In effect, Zimmerman, 29, will be selling his autograph.

Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in February while patrolling alone as a neighborhood watch volunteer. His lawyers say Martin, 17, jumped him and that he is protected under Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

His defense fund has raised about $140,000, but only $15,000 remains.

Immediately after Zimmerman's arrest, he received about $200,000 in contributions, most of it donated in small amounts by people who thought he was getting a raw deal from the legal system. He used thousands of dollars immediately to pay off credit cards and for other expenses and what was left was eventually used to start the defense fund.

The announcement of a new defense fund says paying his legal bills is actually the last priority.

"Priority for the funds will be as it has always been, in this order: to pay for George's living expenses, to pay for costs associated with the defense, and then -- only if funds remain -- to pay appropriate legal fees," the announcement said. "That has always been the priority plan, and we reassert it now. Once the fund is under new management, there will be more affirmative fund-raising efforts."

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