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Perjury charge against Ray Sansom to be dropped

TALLAHASSEE — A state prosecutor said Wednesday he will drop a perjury charge against ex-House Speaker Ray Sansom, citing additional information about his role in budgeting money for a state college in the Panhandle.

The disgraced former speaker still faces grand theft charges stemming from his role in appropriating $6 million for an airplane building.

State Attorney Willie Meggs has charged that Sansom, R-Destin, and former Northwest Florida State College president Bob Richburg conspired to build the building for developer Jay Odom.

The defendants have denied wrongdoing and filed multiple motions to quash the charges.

Meggs said he will drop the perjury charge before the next hearing in the case, which is set for June 16.

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis dismissed a portion of a two-pronged perjury charge against Sansom in October. The second portion accused Sansom of lying about whether anyone at the school had asked for accelerated state funding. It was based on testimony from the Education Department.

Meggs said Wednesday that further information shows Sansom and the college discussed the funding. He said that "nullifies" the remaining perjury charge.

After the October ruling, Meggs added grand theft and conspiracy charges. On Monday, Lewis let those charges stand.

Defense attorneys also said Wednesday they plan to ask for sanctions against Meggs. They argue he has abused his position by leaking confidential documents and making unethical statements to the media.

Meggs said: "I invite a hearing at any time" on that issue.

Perjury charge against Ray Sansom to be dropped 05/19/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 1:42pm]
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