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Grand Jury to Investigate House Speaker

January 26th, 2009 by flanews

A Grand Jury has agreed to investigate Floridas embattled House Speaker. The 21 member jury decided this morning to look deeper into Speaker Ray Sansoms relationship with a college in his district. The college hired Sansom after he secured state money for the school. As Whitney Ray tells us, it could be months before the Grand Jury sorts out if there has been any criminal wrongdoing.

Hear it Here: Grand Jury Moves Forward With Speaker Investigation

Fifty Potential Grand Jurors walked into a Leon County Courtroom Monday morning. Twenty-one were selected to decide if Floridas House Speaker should be investigated for a job he took with a college in his district and later quit. By 1:30 the Grand Jury gave State Attorney Willie Meggs a thumbs up.

My job at this point is to present evidence that we obtain to this Grand Jury and well go out and start doing it. I try not to pre-judge an issue and just gather facts, said Meggs.

The same day Ray Sansom became speaker, he took a six figure job at Northwest Florida State College. Just months earlier Sansom helped the school secure 25 million state dollars, six million to build an airplane hanger on a contributors leased land.

Two complaints from citizens sparked the move to take the case to the The Grand Jury. Orthopedic Surgeon Ray Bellamy filed one of those complaints.

I think that if they do a through investigation and decided there was absolutely no wrong doing and no corrections in our system need to be made, Ill be very surprised, said Dr. Bellamy.

The Grand Jury will have to decide if theres probable cause that Sansom abused his position as a lawmaker to get the college job, used state dollars to build a hanger for his friend or tried to hide information from the public.

After the decision came down Sansom released this statement.

I have acted honestly in all matters, including in my work as a state legislator. The complaints are based on news articles, not personal knowledge of the facts. Once the facts are fully aired, I expect the outcome of this inquiry will be positive. I will cooperate fully and look forward to a speedy conclusion, Sansom’s statement reads.

The state will begin gathering evidence in the case this week. The Grand Jury will meet again in on February 17th, to begin reviewing the evidence. It could take months for the Grand Jury to reach a decision in the case.

House Rules Chairman Bill Galvano is also calling for an investigation. Galvano will ask a special investigator to look into a complaint filed with the House regarding Sansom.

Posted in Legislature, Sansom, State Budget, State News | 11 Comments »

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