Is Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's former aide seeking vengeance or justice?
An attorney for a former aide to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll defended his client's credibility Thursday, saying the governor's office had known since November about some of the explosive allegations — including a so-called "sexual escapade" between Carroll and a female staffer in her office.
"We think she's credible and she carries herself as someone who doesn't throw these allegations around," said Steven Andrews, a Tallahassee attorney representing Carletha Cole. "Everything she's said to us has been self-corroborated by public records."
On Thursday, Lane Wright, a spokesman for the governor's office, called the claims "outrageous."
Cole, 49, was arrested and charged in October with disclosing an illegally taped conversation with a Florida Times-Union newspaper reporter. The taped conversation was with Carroll's chief of staff, John Konkus, talking about inter-office drama. Cole was charged with releasing the tape, not with actually recording the conversation. If convicted of the third-degree felony, she faces up to five years in prison.
In Florida, it is illegal to record a private conversation without the consent of its participants. Cole denies making the recordings.
The criminal case turned nasty this month when Cole, in court documents, accused Carroll of engaging in sex, lies and illegal audio taping at her office in the state Capitol.
The salacious allegations set off a public relations battle, with Cole painted either as an innocent whistleblower under attack or as a disgruntled former employee with a vicious vendetta.