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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Lawyer prosecuting 'Taj Mahal' judge defends tactics with witnesses

23

June

1st District Court of Appeal Judge Paul M. Hawkes is not entitled to have a friendly prosecutor when he faces trial before the Judicial Qualifications Commission, says the Clearwater attorney hired to pursue charges against the controversial judge.

In a response to Hawkes' demand that he be removed from the case, JQC prosecutor F. Wallace Pope Jr. denied any misconduct was involved in comments he made while questioning witnesses.

Hawkes had intimidated witnesses who were being questioned about the judge's "improper lobbying efforts and the extravagant misuse of state funds" in building a new courthouse many have dubbed a "Taj Mahal," Pope wrote in a formal response filed Wednesday with the Florida Supreme Court.

Read more from Lucy Morgan here.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2011 1:08pm]

    

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