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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ambler: Sansom innocent, Meggs has agenda

State Rep Kevin Ambler, a potential Republican candidate for attorney general, gave a full-throated defense of indicted former House Speaker Ray Sansom at a Tampa Tiger Bay lunch today. "Ray Sansom did nothing wrong," Ambler declared, saying state attorney Willie Meggs appeared to be willing to raiload an innocent man for political gain and that Times/Herald reporter Alex Leary "left out a great deal" in the reports that led to the grand jury investigation. The newspapers acted as "a lynch mob" because "they have papers to sell," he said.

He accused prosecutor Meggs of running a "kangaroo court" in neglecting to call key witnesses because Meggs is a Democrat who may want to run for higher office and "has his own political agenda." Asked what other witnesses should have been called, Ambler, a former prosecutor himself, mentioned Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist, developer Jay Odom, and Sansom's top budget aide, among others. But Lisa Carlton, Sansom's Senate budget counterpart, and top Sansom aide Mike Hansen did testify. Odom was asked to testify as well, but did not show up.

GOP consultant Chris Ingram watched the meeting (also featuring Ed Homan and Dan Gelber) and apparently was not especially impressed with "Rep. Rambler."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:02pm]

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