A criminal case in Pinellas County has changed the halls of power of the island nation of Grenada.
The attorney general of that country has resigned over the contents of a letter he sent to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office, in a development that was first reported by the St. Petersburg Times.
Grenadan media reported that Attorney General Jimmy Bristol's resignation was accepted Friday, in the wake of controversy about the letter.
Bristol had urged leniency in the case of his stepson, Emmanuel Ganpot, who is scheduled to be sentenced next month in a Pinellas County drug-dealing case. Bristol's comments stirred controversy in Grenada, not so much because he supported a family member, but because he did so in a letter using the official letterhead of the Attorney General's Office.
"On behalf of the government, I wish to thank Mr. Bristol for his contribution to Grenada over the past year," Prime Minister Tillman Thomas said after accepting Bristol's resignation, according to the Grenada Informer newspaper.
The Grenada Broadcast Network had previously quoted Bristol acknowledging a "severe error in judgment" and saying that he had met with the prime minister and "apologized for the fallout that it's caused."
Bristol's stepson Ganpot was first arrested after Pinellas sheriff's deputies got a tip in 2001 from an informant about an upcoming drug deal involving about 3,500 doses of ecstasy.
Ganpot was arrested with three others and charged with possessing or selling drugs including ecstasy, GHB, ketamine and cocaine. He pleaded no contest in exchange for a sentence of nearly six years, but then disappeared. Apprehended in 2008, he now faces what is likely to be a much tougher sentence, plus a failure to appear charge.
Bristol had said in his letter to the state attorney that he did not condone his stepson's actions, but added that "we all err from time to time and should not have our lives completely destroyed by one slipup."
He also said that he "first met Emmanuel in 1993 while he was a student in St. Petersburg." He said Ganpot "was doted on by his mother, who provided him with all his needs and more. To say that she spoiled him is an understatement.
"Unfortunately," Bristol wrote to the state attorney, "Emmanuel was befriended by the wrong people and has found himself in his present predicament."
Curtis Krueger can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8232.