A trial is set to begin in Aug. for a Tallahassee-based political organization, reported the Miami Herald.
"The eight-month investigation is focused on former Sen. Frank Artiles, a Republican operative, Alexis 'Pedro' Rodriguez, an auto-parts dealer with financial woes and an alleged plot to successfully sway the outcome of Miami-Dade's Senate District 37 race in favor of the Republican candidate," the Herald explained.
According to prosecutors, Sen. Artiles got his longtime friend (Rodriguez) to change his party from a Republican to "no party" and enter the race because he had the same last name as the Democrat. For his troubles, Rodriguez would be given $50,000.
"The no-party candidate got more than 6,000 votes in a race decided by just over two dozen, ousting incumbent Democrat José Javier Rodríguez after a manual recount," said the report.
The arrest documents showed that Rodriguez thought Artiles would pay him because a GOP operative claimed, "We have money in an account." He never got the full $50,000 but he did get $45,000. It wasn't in an account either. It was part of stacks of cash that were found in Artiles' home.
"The transactions have spun into a chase for answers as to where the money came from — and whether secretive political groups have played a role in more than $500,000 spent on political mail advertisements to bolster Rodriguez's candidacy and two other no-party candidates who ran in two other competitive state Senate races, one in Miami-Dade and another in Seminole County, all won by Republicans," the Herald explained.
The men are now both facing felony charges but both have pleaded not guilty.
"In arrest documents, prosecutors also identified a third party who withdrew $9,000 from a First Horizon Bank branch in Palmetto Bay, and gave the cash to Rodriguez," the report also said. "The third party has yet to be named or charged, but court records show a Facebook friend of Artiles has retained an attorney as prosecutors look into one of his accounts at that same bank. The friend's attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment."
The list of witnesses, however, is reaching deep into the Florida Republican Party with top GOP consultants being involved.
There's no talk of conducting another election for the Florida Senate seat, which had an outcome based on fraud.
Matt Gaetz tried to delete a tweet saying the FBI should be defunded — it just drew more attention to it
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) isn't having a very good press day this Wednesday. This morning, news of Gaetz being schooled by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spread across the web. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley was even more annoyed, bringing down the right-wing think tank-created culture war issue of "critical race theory."
But then things got worse. VICE News quoted Gaetz, "If Democrats want to defund the police, they should start with the FBI." He then deleted it in about one minute.
Gaetz's spokesperson claimed that the congressman "felt it appropriate to remove a jocular tweet taken from a speech some time ago because he takes oversight of the FBI so seriously." It's unclear why Gaetz made the statement, to begin with, if he takes his role so seriously.
Gaetz's office then demanded that VICE News use the full statement from his office or not at all. The rambling statement went off on a rant about the FBI investigating Chinese labs and a Chinese defector.
A search of the quote, "If Democrats want to defund the police, they should start with the FBI," doesn't appear anywhere online linked to a speech from Gaetz. So, if he's said it before it was ignored by every newspaper, cable news outlet, campaign observer, Twitter follower and more. Without any evidence of his previously having said it, it's unclear when Gaetz made the comment and where.
Regardless, it isn't a good look given Gaetz is being investigated by the FBI for his possible role in illegal actions by his close friend Joel Greenberg. He recently pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a deal with prosecutors.
While Gaetz deleted the tweet, it is now being spread across Twitter because he deleted it so quickly after posting it.
‘This is incredible’: Viewers stunned as ‘showboating idiot’ Matt Gaetz gets ‘completely decimated’ by top US general
During a House Armed Services hearing this Wednesday, Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley pushed back against Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, who accused Milley of endorsing a "woke" military.
"I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military ... of being 'woke' or something else because we're studying some theories that are out there," Milley said.
The dust up was widely seen as a win for Milley, and Gaetz's critics on Twitter wasted no time in pointing that out.
This is incredible. I know we all exaggerate constantly #onhere, but this is must-see viewing. Milley expressing… https://t.co/3vCpPyg52J— Jay | BLM (@Jay | BLM) 1624475324.0
@RepMattGaetz @SecDef The face you make when you know you just got destroyed https://t.co/qsmp4J28f9— #SaveTyler See Bio&Pinned (@#SaveTyler See Bio&Pinned) 1624472282.0
Real leadership from the General. Matt Gaetz is a showboating idiot without the slightest clue of what it means to… https://t.co/ikfcBs7j1L— Blissful GRITS (@Blissful GRITS) 1624473459.0
matt gaetz's face in this is amazing, but i'm also just kinda stunned that the most passionate and erudite defense… https://t.co/IkcTf3ghAK— David Mack (@David Mack) 1624471004.0
Saw this clip earlier from a different angle; this one has the benefit of a quick cut to Matt Gaetz flipping out Al… https://t.co/Pi3Hq9X7cz— Brian Beutler (@Brian Beutler) 1624474025.0
Look at Matt Gaetz. This general has more decorations than the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and yet that clown shake… https://t.co/L7AXACrWCH— Matt Verderame (@Matt Verderame) 1624473252.0
Watch Rep. Gaetz get schooled by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Gaetz’ reaction… https://t.co/MLJwKboWom— Rev. Rob Lee (@Rev. Rob Lee) 1624474222.0
General Milley directly connects what he calls "white rage" to the attack on the Capitol. He says he's studied Mao,… https://t.co/dJ33jD2jp2— Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers (@Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers) 1624474141.0
This really is a remarkable, memorable answer, and the Gaetz reaction shot in the middle of this clip perfectly cap… https://t.co/e30LvaSqh1— southpaw (@southpaw) 1624473342.0
@BeauTFC @jom4337 The longer video is better because it shows the complete indignation from Gaetz as he watches his… https://t.co/UvHHMqjovC— Critical Race Theory killed my parents (@Critical Race Theory killed my parents) 1624475435.0
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