George Zimmerman granted public defender, says he's $2.5M in debt

Zimmerman accused of sending threatening messages to private investigator

By Brianna Volz - Web producer
Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

SANFORD, Fla. - George Zimmerman was recently appointed a public defense attorney to represent him in a stalking case filed against him after he claimed to be indigent, according to court documents.

In a motion filed last week, Zimmerman claimed that he was unable to afford to hire an attorney himself because he was $2.5 million in debt.

[READ MOTION: Zimmerman says he can't afford private attorney in stalking case]

A judge approved Zimmerman's request and appointed public defender Blaise Trettis to represent him, according to the documents.

According to a motion filed Wednesday, Zimmerman entered a written plea of not guilty and waived his appearance at his upcoming arraignment.

Zimmerman, who was acquitted of fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012, is accused of stalking private investigator Dennis Warren after Warren reached out to Zimmerman about appearing in a documentary.

Warren said Zimmerman responded to the request with about 200 calls, text messages and emails, some of which were considered to be threatening to Warren and his family.

“Somebody needs to warn Mrs. Warren because I’m coming over and I’m bringing hell with me,” Warren quoted Zimmerman as saying in an email.

According to Seminole County deputies, Zimmerman sent one message that said Warren was "on his way to the inside of a gator."

Deputies said Zimmerman phoned Warren 55 times, left 36 voicemails, texted 67 times and sent 27 emails in a nine-day span.

Warren filed a request for an injunction against Zimmerman in March. The alleged harassing messages sent to Warren stopped toward the end of December, officials said.

In a court hearing last week regarding the request, Warren further detailed the phone calls and messages he said Zimmerman left him. Many of the voicemails, Warren said, featured sound effects from what sounded like horror movies that included ticking noises and people screaming.

Also in court, Judge Jerri Collins said that while Zimmerman's alleged behavior did seem "bizarre," it didn't rise to the level of repeated acts of stalking or violence. The hearing lasted about an hour before she denied the request for an injunction.

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