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Grand Theft Trial Begins for Former Florida GOP Chair

Feb 8, 2013 | WMFE - Former Florida Republican Party Chair Jim Greer is due to go on trial Monday in Orange County on charges of fraud, money laundering and grand theft. The witness list for the trial is expected to be a "who's who" of current and former state Republican lawmakers.

Jim Greer was arrested at his Oviedo home in June 2010, five months after he stepped down as chair of the Republican Party of Florida. Prosecutors say Greer hired his own shell fundraising company and secretly paid himself $125,000 in party money. He’d blamed his resignation on a conservative faction of the Republican Party that concocted accusations to clear out more moderate leaders like him.

“There [has] been a very vocal group within our party that has become very active in seeking an effort to oust me as Chairman,” he told reporters while announcing his resignation in January 2010. “They have distorted facts, they have talked about misspending of money when the facts have shown over and over and over that that is not true.” 

State lawmakers of many stripes have been called to testify in Greer’s trial. Newly-minted Democrat and former Governor Charlie Crist, who nominated Greer for chairman back when they were both Republicans, is on the witness list for prosecution and defense, along with ex-state House Speaker Dean Cannon and former US Senator George LeMieux. 

Current House Speaker Will Weatherford and former State Attorney General Bill McCollum are witnesses for the defense.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.


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