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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sansom files another motion to dismiss; Meggs fires back

19

April

Ray Sansom has again asked a judge to dismiss the criminal case against him, arguing grand theft charges are too broad to limit prosecutorial discretion. The indicted former speaker of the Florida House is hoping a judge applies that same standard as he did last year in dismissing an official misconduct charge.

But State Attorney Willie Meggs has a new court filing of his own, laying out a furtive narrative of a $6 million airplane project that Sansom was said to be the "kingpin" of, according to documents.

Sansom's motion, served Monday in Leon County Circuit Court, relies on statements from several officials involved in the planning of a $6 million airport building that Sansom funded through the Legislature. The witnesses assert that Sansom played no role in the planning of the building after he slipped the money in the 2007 state budget.

Sansom, 47, is accused of casting the project as a educational facility and concealing plans by a friend of his, Panhandle businessman Jay Odom, to use the space for his corporate jet business. Sansom denied knowing anything about those plans, revealed in documents obtained by the Times/Herald and prosecutors, and his lawyers now say that it would have been up to the trustees of Northwest Florida State College to agree to any use by Odom.

Meggs' new filing (read it here) is in response to previous motions to dismiss by Sansom and his co-defendants, Odom and former college president Bob Richburg. It tracks the project through the budget process and shows how, despite assertions to the contrary, Odom planned to use the building and was in contact with Sansom.

Kingpinemail It relies on numerous e-mails to paint a conspiracy. In one, previously reported by the Times/Herald, Richburg said that he and Odom considered Sansom the "kingpin" of the deal.

"Defendants Odom, Richburg and Sansom worked together to misappropriate and effectively take 6 million tax dollars to benefit Defendant Odom as a reward for his political allegiance. Further, they attempted to conceal the purpose of The Project and conceal and destroy evidence in this case. Now they claim they are not accountable for this Appropriation!"

A court hearing is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday on some of the motions.

Alex Leary, Times staff writer

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:29pm]

    

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