The former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer pleaded guilty to theft and money laundering charges Monday at the last minute just before jury selection in his criminal trial was to begin. To avoid an embarrassing trial in which some of Florida’s most powerful politicians were scheduled as witnesses, including former Gov. Charlie Crist, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and several state House and state Senate leaders, he pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and a single count of money laundering for funneling money from the Republican Party of Florida to a company he set up with his right-hand man, according to the Washington Post.
Greer was accused of funneling $200,000 of party money into a company he had formed with Delmar Johnson. Johnson was scheduled to be the prosecutor’s star witness and was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony.
Via Washington Post:
“There were a number of people who did not want this trial to go forward and the trial isn’t going forward,” said Damon Chase, Greer’s attorney. “Once again, Jim Greer is falling on his sword for a lot of other folks.”
Topics that were covered in pretrial depositions included allegations of prostitutes at a state GOP fundraiser in the Bahamas, lavish spending on fancy restaurants and luxury hotels by state party leaders, the drinking habits of Crist and party leaders stabbing each other in the back.
Greer could be sentenced to a minimum of 3 ½ years and a maximum of 35 years in prison at his March 27 sentencing. The Associated Press adds, “Greer had said party leaders were aware of the company and that his prosecution was political payback.”