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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dem aide guilty of misdemeanor



Fl Democrats who remember Michael Duga will be interested in the AP item: EDGARTOWN, Mass. - The ex-chief of staff to former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland has pleaded guilty to trespassing at a Martha’s Vineyard Coast Guard station.

Michael Duga was initially charged with breaking into Menemsha Coast Guard Station after police found him there without permission last August.As a result of the plea, Duga must check in monthly by mail with a probation officer. He was later fired by Cleland.

Duga’s arrest came hours after he allegedly crashed a John Edwards fundraiser. But Duga, who has worked for years in Democratic politics, said he was expected at the event. He provided several e-mail showing correspondence with the Edwards campaign, including on the day of the fundraiser. A call to an Edward’s spokesman wasn’t immediately returned.

Duga suspended by Cleland after the event and later fired. Cleland, a Democratic from Georgia, said he hadn't been aware of Duga's past criminal record, including drug possession charges.

On Friday, Cleland said Duga was a "loyal, dedicated friend."

"He obviously needed to turn his life around and he's working hard to do that," he said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:16pm]


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