Minutes before the judge closed the courtroom in the redistricting trial, the plaintiffs dropped a bombshell.
In a deposition taken Thursday morning, the mystery mapmaker, Alex Posada, a former FSU student and private citizen who had allegedly submitted the map touted by legislators as the foundation for its congressional map, said he had nothing to do with it.
Posada, a former member of the FSU College Republicans, who appeared at a June 2012 public hearing in Tallhassee to commend the legislature's open process, allegedly testified under oath that he never drew the map, never submitted it, and a gmail account in his name that was used to submit the maps never existed.
That new information came in the eighth day of the redistricting trial in Leon County Circuit Court as a lawyer for the coalition of voters groups grilled Republican political consultant Rich Heffley about what he knew.
The plaintiffs, led by the League of Women Voters and seven Democratic-leaning individuals, accuse legislators of allowing political operatives such as Heffley and Bainter to conduct a "shadow" redistricting process that used go-betweens to create public maps intended to benefit Republican incumbents and candidates in violation of the Fair District amendments to the Florida Constitution.
Heffley, who has denied knowing anything about the maps drawn by political consultants being submitted as public maps answered: "I won't tell you what my mom told me about assuming things but I will tell you that I don't know Mr. Posada, I haver had anything to do with submitting maps and I don't know how they got in the public domain.'
King then asked: "Were you creating email addresses for people in their names without their authorization or knowledge?"
Heffley: "I did not and I had no knowledge that anybody did that."
King said the email showed that maps were bouncing back on Nov. 1 was it because you were filing maps yourself?
King then suggested that he would need to use documents from Pat Bainter and Data Targeting and Judge Terry Lewis then ordered the courtroom closed to anyone who was not a party to case.
Members of the media then expressed their objection to the closing of the courtroom and the room was closed.
Posada worked for one year at the Tampa-based lobbying firm Strategos after college, said the firm spokesman Bill Colletti. He is now working in Orlando in the construction industry, Coletti said, and was hired at the advice of a parish priest known to one of the firm's founders, Trey Traviesa. The firm was co-founded by House Speaker Will Weatherford's brother Drew.