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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sansom wants trial moved



Former House Speaker Ray Sansom has asked for a change of venue in his criminal trial, court records in Tallahassee show.

Sansom has adopted a motion filed by co-defendant Jay Odom, a Panhandle businessman who sought $6 million in taxpayer money for an airport building in Destin. The men and former college president Bob Richburg have been charged with grand theft, accused of scheming the get the money in the state budget and concealing the project as a emergency operations center and training center rather than a hangar for Odom's private jet business.

The trial is set to begin later this month in Tallahassee, but defense attorneys will likely argue that a jury cannot be chosen there due to the visibility and news coverage of the case. Prosecutors will likely point to the successful picking of a jury in the high-profile murder case of Gary Michael Hilton, who was convicted last month.

A hearing on the motion and others is set for Friday. If form follows, the judge will listen to arguments but reserve judgment until after there is an attempt to pick a jury.

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 2:12pm]


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