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Sansom Grand Jury Testimony to Be Released

January 8th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Embattled former House Speaker Ray Sansom has lost failed in his attempt to keep his voluntary Grand Jury testimony secret from House investigators. A legislative committee will begin hearings later this month to decide if Sansom can finish out his term, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, investigators needed the testimony because Sansom has said he wont appear.

In addition to criminal charges, former House Speaker Ray Sansom faces censure or even expulsion for sending 25 million dollars to Northwest Florida College for a leadership institute, and then taking an unadvertised 110 thousand job to run it. He is also accused of sending another 6 million to build a hangar for a contributor at the Destin airport. The former speaker is refusing to testify before a house panel January 25th, so the special counsel was in court seeking the release of his grand jury testimony.

The House does, in fact, have a particular need for the grand jury testimony, special counsel Melanie Hines said.

Sansoms lawyer fought the release.

Theres not precedent for it, Steve Dobson, Ray Sansoms attorney, said. Theres no law for it.

Judge Terry Lewis wasted little time deciding the House prosecutors could have the testimony.

Why did you not want that testimony released?

Because I really believe that, under the law, grand jury testimony should remain a secret, Dobson said.

We are told that Sansom spent about 30 minutes before the grand jury. Now, the judges ruling wont make the record public right now, but we will learn more about what he said at a Legislative hearing on January 25th.

Even if the former speaker is acquitted in the criminal case, his house colleagues can expel him for causing the public to lose confidence in the integrity of the legislature.

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