Governor Scott, Attorney General Bondi Defend Ayala Reassignments (Tallahassee, FL) -- Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi are fighting back against accusations from Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala that her removal from nearly two-dozen death penalty cases was executive overreach. In court papers filed in State Supreme Court on Wednesday, counsel for the state said Ayala's conscientious stance against ever seeking the death penalty is not an exercise of her duty to practice "prosecutorial discretion." The state also claimed that Ayala previously requested reassignment from six unrelated cases that were granted. Ayala is suing the governor in state and federal court, alleging her removal from the Markeith Loyd case and other capital cases amounts to political retribution.
Corrine Brown Corruption Trial (Jacksonville, FL) -- Testimony continues in the Corrine Brown corruption trial. Federal prosecutors and attorneys for the former 24-year congresswoman yesterday hosted a string of witnesses for the second day of trial. FBI Special Agent Vanessa Stelly spoke before the jury on the witness stand as a key prosecution witness, describing how Brown, her chief of staff Ronnie Simmons and aide Carla Wiley raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a children's education charity that doled out little, if any money, to children. In cross-examination, Special Agent Stelly told Brown's attorneys that there is no clear evidence the former congresswoman was aware of financial discrepancies of a charity that with which she was affiliated but did not actually manage.
Lawmakers React To Bill That Would Circumvent Sunshine Law (Tallahassee, FL) -- Some local lawmakers in the state are throwing some shade on an effort that could undermine the Sunshine Law. A bill up for debate today in Tallahassee would allow two local officials to meet in private to discuss official business. St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice says the bill basically does away with the Sunshine Law that gives the public the right to view official meetings. Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller says people want open government, but colleague Victor Crist tells the "Times/Herald" he hopes the bill passes.