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George Zimmerman's wife pleads guilty to perjury in Florida court

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - The wife of George Zimmerman pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to a reduced charge of perjury for lying in a 2012 Florida court proceeding concerning her husband's arrest in the killing of Trayvon Martin, according to court records.

Circuit Judge Marlene Alva in Sanford accepted a deal in which Shellie Zimmerman agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor perjury rather than the original charge of felony perjury in an official proceeding.

Zimmerman was ordered to serve one year of probation, perform 100 hours of community service and write a letter of apology to Judge Kenneth Lester, in whose court the perjury occurred.

George Zimmerman was acquitted in July of murder in Martin's death, but his wife still faced the perjury charge for telling Lester that they had no money at a bond hearing. At the time, the couple had accumulated $135,000 from donors to an online legal defense fund.

George Zimmerman was arrested last year after he shot Martin, who was walking to the townhouse where he was staying in the central Florida city of Sanford.

The case drew national attention to Florida's self-defense law, known as Stand Your Ground, while also sparking intense debate on racial profiling and equal justice for African-Americans.

The Zimmerman's family credit union accounts showed that Shellie Zimmerman had transferred more than $74,000 from her husband's account to her own during the five days before the bond hearing, an investigator with the state attorney's office wrote in an affidavit supporting her arrest.

The Zimmermans discussed the transfers in coded language in several phone calls recorded at the jail in the days preceding the bond hearing, the affidavit said. They also talked about moving money to Zimmerman's sister's account and about taking money from a safety deposit box, the affidavit said.

(Editing by David Adams and Lisa Von Ahn)

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