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Trial of Jim Greer pushed back to February 2013

The trial of former Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer has been postponed again as lawyers squabble over the cost of records Greer wants from the party.

Orlando Circuit Judge Marc Lubet has now scheduled the trial to begin Feb. 11, 2013, almost three years after Greer was charged with money laundering and grand theft for allegedly diverting about $200,000 in party funds to a corporation he created to handle fundraising.

Lubet will determine how much Greer will have to pay for party records at a hearing on Nov. 7. Party lawyer Steve Dobson says the records, which include thousands of emails and contracts, will cost more than $100,000.

Damon Chase, the lawyer for Greer, says he cannot afford to pay that much for the records.

The conflict between Greer and the party has already led to several embarrassing claims against party officials and has the potential to embarrass many of the state's top Republicans.

In depositions in May, Greer accused party leaders of being "right wing whack-a-doodles" who were seriously considering ways to suppress black votes.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement report that remains sealed supposedly describes a salacious encounter in the Bahamas featuring some GOP officials, lobbyists and women who were paid for their services.

Lubet ordered the report made public last month but lawyers for two unnamed participants in the Bahamas gathering have appealed his ruling to the 5th District Court of Appeal in an effort to keep it secret.

Greer was forced to resign the $130,000-a-year chairman position in early 2010 as party leaders began questioning party expenditures and Victory Strategies Inc., the corporation Greer established with Delmar Johnson, the party's executive director.

Johnson has been given immunity from prosecution and is testifying against Greer.

Greer claims he is innocent of the charges, insisting that then-Gov. Charlie Crist and others knew he was getting paid additional money for fundraising after he terminated the GOP's $30,000-a-month fundraiser, Meredith O'Rourke.

Crist, legislative leaders and a number of GOP political consultants are among the witnesses scheduled to testify at Greer's trial.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Correction: The charges against Jim Greer stem from a statewide grand jury. An earlier version of this story misclassified them.

Trial of Jim Greer pushed back to February 2013 09/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 10:31am]
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