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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dramatic end to Sansom trial gives way to debate on what happened

30

March

Juror Pamela McLean returned from lunch expecting to hear hours of additional testimony in the Ray Sansom trial. Instead she was told she could go home. "It caught us by surprise," McLean said. "It looked like there was more to come."

As the corruption case against the former House speaker fell apart Friday in a Tallahassee courtroom, surprise reverberated across Florida.

Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs abruptly announced he was dropping grand theft and conspiracy charges against Sansom and developer Jay Odom for their role in an alleged scheme to get $6 million in state funding for an airport building Odom wanted to use for his jet business in Destin.

Meggs had yet to present some key evidence, including testimony from former Northwest Florida State College president Bob Richburg, a defendant who agreed to testify against Sansom and Odom. But the prosecutor said he could not proceed because the judge ruled he had not established grounds for a conspiracy.

The end — both dramatic and anticlimactic — gave way to public debate about just what happened and whether Meggs or Circuit Judge Terry Lewis was correct. (story here)

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:01pm]

    

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