On October 5, 2009, Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis dismissed the bulk of the indictment against former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom (R-Ft. Walton Beach) and two others. Judge Lewis dismissed official misconduct and perjury charges, but did not dismiss one of the perjury charges or a portion of one of the official misconduct charges.
The allegations against Rep. Sansom grew out of appropriations legislation passed when he chaired the House budget process, and alleged misconduct in directing funding for a purported emergency operations center that was in fact an airplane hangar to Northwest Florida State College. The judge dismissed the bulk of the official misconduct charges based on his finding that neither Rep. Sansom nor his codefendants could have “falsified” an appropriations act passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.
The trial on the remaining charges is now scheduled for October 26, 2009.
Rep. Sansom also faces scrutiny from the House Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, which is investigating whether he violated any House Rules. On October 7, the committee voted to retain Melanie Ann Hines as independent counsel for its investigation of the former speaker. Ms. Hines served as Florida Statewide Prosecutor from 1991 – 2003.