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DeSantis suspends two Sumter County commissioners charged with perjury

Sumter County commissioners Oren Miller and Gary Search have been suspended after being charged with perjury. Photo: Joe Byrnes/WMFE/File
Sumter County commissioners Oren Miller and Gary Search have been suspended after being charged with perjury. Photo: Joe Byrnes/WMFE/File

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Sumter County commissioners Gary Search and Oren Miller on Thursday.

The men, both 71-year-old residents of The Villages, were charged last month with committing perjury during an investigation into possible Sunshine Law violations.

Prosecutors accused them of lying under oath during a criminal investigation into complaints that they had communicated about county business outside of public meetings.

Investigators subpoenaed cellphone records and reported finding more than 40 calls between the two men, often near meeting times.

But when questioned, prosecutors say Search denied the cellphone calls and Miller claimed they had stopped months before they actually did.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Miller said, quote, "I'm innocent. I will be vindicated."

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.