We have detailed before the perjury charge against George Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, based on her testimony during a bail hearing as to their assets.
I’ve pointed out that legally the charge was weak because perjury requires an affirmative misstatement of a material fact, and many of her answers, while evasive and misleading, did not rise to that level. Many of the questions at issue were ambiguous and called for opinionated characterizations.
Perhaps recognizing the weakness of the case, it appears that the prosecution has agreed to a plea deal. (Update: Plea Deal docs embedded at bottom of post.)
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Shellie will plead guilty to a lesser count of perjury, and will receive a sentence of one year probation:
Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of acquitted murder suspect George Zimmerman, will today plead guilty to a less serious form of perjury in a plea deal that will require her to serve one year of probation.
It was a negotiated deal, designed to leave her with no criminal record. The 26-year-old was a nursing student nearly done with her schooling at the time of her arrest. Had she been found guilty of a felony — the perjury charge she was facing — she would have been banned from applying to become a nurse for three years.
The deal also requires her to write a letter of apology to Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr., the judge to whom she was accused of lying, and to serve 100 hours of community service.
The official charge filed against Shellie Zimmerman is perjury during an official proceeding – of lying during one of her husband’s bond hearings last year. That’s a third-degree felony, which carries a possible five-year prison term.
Update: The Orlando Sentinel has updated its story, now that the plea deal was accepted in court:
Circuit Judge Marlene Alva accepted the plea during a brief hearing at the Seminole County criminal courthouse in Sanford.
It was a negotiated deal, designed to avoid a felony conviction. The 26-year-old was a nursing student nearly done with her schooling at the time of her arrest. Had she been found guilty of a felony — the perjury charge she was facing — she would have been banned from applying to become a nurse for three years.