Jack Latvala attorney wants ex-law enforcement official to head Senate probe - Florida Politics

Jack Latvala attorney wants ex-law enforcement official to head Senate probe

Steven R. Andrews, the attorney hired by Sen. Jack Latvala, wants to have a former law enforcement official conduct the Senate investigation into claims the senator sexually harassed or groped six women. 

Andrews sent a letter to Senate President Joe Negron on Tuesday, asking him to also have a retired judge preside over the case  as a “special master” and that testimony in the case should be under oath.

“I believe the Senate should comply,” Andrews said in an email to Florida Politics. “The request is reasonable and I think all parties need guidance on the policies and procedures going forward. All parties are entitled to due process.”

Andrews had expressed concern about Senate General Counsel Dawn Roberts recusing herself from the investigation, saying it “might leave a void in oversight.”

Roberts stepped aside after saying she has a long professional relationship with Latvala. She then recommended an independent investigator take the reins.

Latvala has denied the sexual allegations against him by six unnamed women, first reported by POLITICO Florida. The allegations range from him grabbing a woman’s buttocks to making inappropriate comments about a woman’s breasts.

“As one can easily understand, these allegations are incredibly serious and could permanently stain the reputation of a longtime public servant,” Andrews wrote in a letter to Negron.

Andrews is a longtime Tallahassee attorney, who is no stranger to suing the state government.

He also represented former embattled Sen. Frank Artiles when the Senate was investigating the Miami-Dade Republican for reportedly accosting two black lawmakers by using racially-charged slurs at the Governors Club in downtown Tallahassee. The inquiry was cut short when Artiles resigned from office.

Andrews’ law firm will be working with the Law Office of Stephen Webster in defending Latvala, who has relinquished his chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee until the investigation is resolved. Latvala continues to serve in the Senate and remains in the race for governor.

Ana covers politics and policy for Florida Politics. Before joining Florida Politics, she was the legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press and covered policy issues impacting immigration, the environment, criminal justice and social welfare in Florida. She holds a B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University. After graduating in 2014, she worked as a criminal justice reporter for the Monterey Herald and the Monterey County Weekly. She has also freelanced for The Washington Post at the U.S.-Mexico border covering crime in the border city of Tijuana, where she grew up. Ana is fluent in Spanish and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese.

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