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Sansom Hearing Moving Forward

November 5th, 2009 by flanews

A House committee charged with determining former speaker Ray Sansom’s future in the state legislature will continue its investigation, despite protests from Sansom’s attorneys. As Whitney Ray tells us, the decision to move forward comes as Sansom’s criminal chargers are being contested.

Former House Speaker Ray Sansom faces a perjury charge for reportedly lying about sending six million dollars to build an aircraft hanger for a political contributor. Last month a Leon County Judge dropped an official misconduct charge against Sansom. State Attorney Willie Meggs is appealing the judge’s decision to the First District Court of Appeal.

Sansom’s lawyer was before a legislative committee Thursday investigating the former speaker, asking members to postpone the hearings.

“There is a seven month window,” said Attorney Richard Coates.

A special prosecutor insisted on moving forward.

“The public’s interest in the integrity of the legislative process is at stake,” said Melanie Hines, the independent counsel hired by the House Committee to investigate Sansom.

The committee sided with the prosecutor, but after the vote, members were sullen.

“This is not a pleasant job for any of the members on this panel. It’s not why we ran for office, but we have a job to do and we will do it,” said committee chairman Bill Galvano.

A job that could result in the expulsion of their former legislative leader. The committee could decide at a later date to postpone their investigation, but if everything goes as planned the House will hold its hearings the week of January 25th.

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