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Affidavit: Jack Latvala accuser boasted about sabotaging people’s careers

Before she filed a sexual harassment complaint against Sen. Jack Latvala, Senate aide Rachel Perrin Rogers allegedly engaged in a pattern of raising claims against fellow staffers at the Senate Majority Office, according to a sworn affidavit released Monday.

But the head of that office, Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson, now says it is part of a “smear campaign” against Perrin Rogers, who has been a “trusted and valued member of my team for more than five years.”

Further, Perrin Rogers’ attorney called the affidavit by former Senate staffer Lily Tysinger an “uncorroborated statement” and threatened a libel lawsuit against Florida Politics if it were reported.

And attorney Tiffany R. Cruz now has asked Gov. Rick Scott to appoint a special prosecutor in the case, saying Latvala has committed crimes.

Simpson broke his silence Monday and came to the defense of Perrin Rogers, his top aide. He said her publicly accusing a powerful senator of sexual harassment is not a “political campaign,” but rather about the safety and security of someone coming forward with serious allegations.

“If we do not protect those who speak out, we will silence other potential victims who deserve justice,” Simpson, a future Senate president, told POLITICO Florida in a text.

Latvala defended himself by saying his team has only provided sworn statements that are “scientifically authenticated.”

“In a defense you have to make your case that one party is believable and one is not,” Latvala said. “Sometimes the truth hurts and I am dealing with the truth.

“Why should I have to defend myself for attacking her credibility when she hasn’t backed any of her statements,” he said, referring to Perrin Rogers. “It goes down to my word versus her word.”

Simpson’s statement, however, could be a turning point in the Latvala investigation: A powerful Republican now has slammed the former budget chair’s defense tactics, which have included the release of text messages between Perrin Rogers and him and now a sworn statement by a former Senate staffer.

The affidavit released Monday is by 22-year-old Tysinger, who supports Latvala amid his career-threatening harassment scandal. She said Perrin Rogers boasted about sabotaging people’s careers, and raised allegations against legislative aides and staffers.

One of those rumors, she said, included Perrin Rogers telling the wife of Republican Sen. George Gainer of Panama City that Tysinger was “having numerous affairs with people involved in the political process.”

Cruz said Tysinger’s statements are “a complete lie” and that she would pursue legal action against Florida Politics.

“To be clear, Lillian Tysinger is a campaign volunteer for Jack Latvala, since August of this year. If that fact isn’t reflected in your stories, and if you print any other uncorroborated statements made by her, we will pursue legal action against you and your publication for printing libel,” Cruz said in a text.

Latvala said Tysinger has never been a volunteer, “that I know of.” He added in a text message that Tysinger reached out to his legal team “thru friends” and while he has only met her once or twice “she seems to be smart.”

“Very fine young lady,” he said.

Tysinger claims Perrin Rogers’ comments led to some people being terminated or “re-homed” from the Senate Majority Office. That included Tysinger’s own employment, which she had since November 2016, she said.

POLITICO Florida reported on Nov. 3 that six women — one of them Perrin Rogers now says is her — accused Latvala of sexually harassing and groping them. Two days after that report, Tysinger said she was removed from her position within the Senate Majority Office and transferred to the Senate Secretary’s Office.

“No reason was provided for my transfer, and the demotion resulted in an $11,000 a year pay cut,” Tysinger said.

Cruz has said Tysinger was the only staffer who was ousted from the Majority Senate Office and that it was a result of her “own conduct” and not any action on the part of Perrin Rogers.

Cruz declined to expand on what type of conduct, but in the past said she was removed from her post because she was incapable of telling the truth.

Under penalty of perjury, Tysinger, who had been a low-level staffer, maintained Perrin Rogers made general comments to her about “having sabotaged other people’s careers” and getting a former female press secretary to Simpson “removed” from her post.

Perrin Rogers is the only woman who has publicly accused the powerful Clearwater Republican of sexual harassment. Her grievances, filed with the Senate Rules Committee in early November, have launched two Senate investigations into his alleged misconduct, and include claims of sexual assault and both sexual and verbal harassment.

In the sworn complaint, Perrin Rogers says there were unwelcome sexual comments about her clothes, breasts and legs. And there was a time that Latvala “assaulted” her in a state Capitol elevator, brushing the lower half of her breast and later with his hand attempting to reach her groin, she said.

As the investigation into these allegations escalates, the 35-year-old Perrin Rogers requested an armed guard out of concern for her safety. Cruz said she wrote a letter to Senate President Joe Negron on Nov. 30.

In her request, first reported by News Service of Florida, Cruz said Perrin Rogers faces the threat of “serious acts of retaliation” from Latvala and those who are being “paid to assist him.”

On Monday, Cruz also sent a letter to Scott asking him to assign a special prosecutor to the case, saying Latvala has committed criminal actions. The letter, published by POLITICO Florida, said the request was bring made to determine if criminal prosecution is warranted.

“This request is not made lightly, but to ensure that there is not a dual standard of justice that benefits only the powerful and politically well-connected,” Cruz wrote.

Latvala’s legal team declined to comment on these allegations, but one of his attorneys, Steve Andrews, has said in the past that as part of the powerful senator’s defense they have collected the sworn statements of 22 people.

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Pam Bondi calls for legislation to protect sexual harassment victims

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Friday said her “heart breaks” for the Senate staffer who in a sworn statement said Sen. Jack Latvala groped her private body parts and sexually harassed her for years, and called for legislation to protect sexual harassment victims.

“I was astonished to learn that one of the victims of the recent allegations in Tallahassee is a woman who I’ve known and respected for years,” Bondi said in a statement.

Rachel Perrin Rogers, a legislative aide to Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson, went public with her accusations against Latvala this week saying she was tired of him lying about her intentions and those of her husband, Brian Hughes, a political consultant.

“My heart breaks for her. We must respect the investigation by the Florida Senate and the privacy of all parties involved,” Bondi said.

Bondi encouraged women who have experienced sexual harassment to come forward, and while she did not give specifics, she said she reached out to House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, who is handling the complaint against Latvala, to preserve a spot for legislation that would “provide protections to victims of sexual harassment complaints.”

Corcoran, who is mulling a run for governor, has called for Latvala to resign. Bondi said he was supportive of a law that would protect all women working in state government.

“It is remarkable what women can do when we all stand together,” she added.

The sex scandal rocking the Republican gubernatorial candidate intensified this week after Perrin Rogers went public and Latvala’s legal team released dozens of text message exchanges in counter defense that showed a cordial working relationship between the two. The complaint detailing the sexual harassment allegations was also made public this week.

Soon after that happened, Gov. Rick Scott said the powerful senator — who is running to succeed him –was a “distraction” in the Legislature.

Latvala slammed Scott for his comment hours later, taking to Twitter to say Scott’s “theft of billions in taxpayers” was also a distraction, referring to his defense in a Medicare fraud case against Scott’s former hospital company.

“I’m sure HCA stockholders thought your efforts to defend yourself in theft of billions from taxpayers was a distraction but you had a right to defend yourself! I have that same right!” he tweeted.

The Senate continues to investigate the allegations of six women, one of them being Perrin Rogers, brought to light by a POLITICO Florida report. There is a separate Senate probe sparked by the complaint Perrin Rogers filed with the Senate Rules Committee.

Latvala’s defense team said there is a sense of “urgency” to wrap up the investigation and that it could be resolved as soon as next week.

Text messages: Jack Latvala accuser dreamed of him as younger, skinnier

More text messages from the Senate staffer accusing Sen. Jack Latvala of sexual misconduct show her describing her dream of a younger, thinner Latvala and calling him “mo betta.”

The exchange between Rachel Perrin Rogers, top aide to Trilby Republican and future Senate President Wilton Simpson, and Lillian Tysinger, then a Senate Republican Office legislative analyst, was obtained by Florida Politics on Friday afternoon.

“All I can tell you is, I would question their veracity in light of the person that they came from,” said Perrin Rogers’ attorney, Tiffany R. Cruz, when asked for comment.

Later, she texted a reporter, “Florida Politics has printed false information. Lily Tysinger does not work in the Senate Majority Office. She was removed because she was incapable of telling the truth.”

The 35-year-old Perrin Rogers is one of six women to tell POLITICO Florida they were groped or otherwise sexually harassed by Latvala,  a Clearwater Republican who has repeatedly denied the claims and continues to campaign for governor. Perrin Rogers also has filed a sworn complaint with the Senate Rules Committee.

In the undated virtual conversation, which Tysinger certified under “penalties of perjury,” Perrin Rogers asked her if she had told Latvala about “our messiness.”

“I sort of mean our friendship but messiness seems like a good way of putting it,” she wrote. (It’s not entirely clear whether Perrin Rogers is referring to her and Latvala, or her and Tysinger.)

“Flashback,” Perrin Rogers continued. “Last night Latvala was in my dream. He lost over 100 lbs.” Tysinger responded, “Oh wow.”

“He also had dark hair. It was like his official Senate photo came to life,” Perrin Rogers wrote.

“Oh that’s creepy,” Tysinger replied.

“When are you coming back? Have we lost you to Jack forevvvverrr,” Perrin Rogers wrote.

“Saturday. Lol,” Tysinger said.

“What are you doing tomorrow? I wish we would. He’s mo betta,” Perrin Rogers said.

Previously released messages between Perrin Rogers and Latvala on Wednesday show a friendly relationship between the two throughout the last Legislative Session. They include a meme, and a text saying “Smile, somebody loves you!” followed by a heart emoji.

Cruz has previously said any texts her client sent to Latvala were “an effort to accomplish one goal: Garner his support for Sen. Simpson and his agenda.”

While these text messages are surfacing, the state’s executive cabinet has made a point of distancing itself from the Clearwater Republican.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis was the last to disavow the ongoing investigation, telling POLITICO Friday he’s “disappointed in this entire situation.”

Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam have made similar remarks distancing themselves from the suspended Senate budget chief.

Attorney General Pam Bondi said on Friday her “heart breaks” for the alleged victims.

Capital correspondent Ana Ceballos contributed to this post. 

Sexual harassment complaint against Jack Latvala released

There were the unwelcome sexual comments about her clothes, breasts and legs. And there was the time that he ‘assaulted’ her in a state Capitol elevator, brushing the lower half of her breast and later, his hand attempting to reach her vagina, she said.

In the three-page sexual harassment complaint filed with the Senate Rules Chair earlier this month, and released by POLITICO Florida, Rachel Perrin Rogers cited a list of six grievances from her interactions with Sen. Jack Latvala that stretch back four years.

The release comes at a time when one of Latvala’s attorneys, Steve Andrews, says there is a sense of “urgency” to wrap up the Senate investigation into the allegations. He says it could come as soon as next week.

Perrin Rogers, a 35-year-old legislative aide to Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson, publicly accused Latvala of sexual harassment on Thursday. Later that day, Latvala’s legal team released a series of text message exchanges between the two, showing a cordial working relationship.

But she claims the unwanted sexual advances occurred during several Legislative Sessions, starting in 2013.

The text messages, though, include jokes, memes featuring the Clearwater Republican and encouraging words like, “smile, somebody loves you!” followed by a heart emoji. They also include her asking Latvala for a favor to get her stepdad out of jury duty, texts saying that she donated to his campaign and her asking him to meet privately to discuss policy.

Her attorney, Tiffany Cruz, said the string of texts does not change the fact that Perrin Rogers did not “invite or encourage Latvala to touch private parts of her body.” She added her behavior was a shield to accomplish one goal: do her job.

In the complaint, Perrin Rogers said Latvala’s misconduct started with verbal harassment. And when she asked him to stop by calling him an “obese, disgusting and dirty old man,” it took a turning point. She claims that once the unwanted comments stopped, the unwelcome physical advances began.

In one instance that occurred on February 2015, she said the physical harassment got so bad that she submitted her resignation to Simpson.

“I cited personal family reasons but also informed Simpson that I felt that the Senate was a cesspool and that Senator Latvala had upset me,” she wrote. “I did not explicitly tell him it was sexual in nature.”

Simpson was not immediately available to comment on this claim. Perrin Rogers ended up coming back to work for him.

In the midst of the month-long sex scandal, the 66-year-old senator has not yet pulled his name from the governor’s race, Andrews continues to deny all the allegations cited in the complaint.

Latvala, however, has defended himself differently in the public eye.

In recent interviews, Latvala denied touching women against their will, but said “who knows” if what he has said to women has been perceived as sexually unwelcomed.

“He denies ever doing it, and if he did do it and he doesn’t remember it, it certainly wasn’t intentional,” Andrews said.

Cruz says Latvala is not in the clear because he says he never intended to verbally harass Perrin Rogers.

“It’s not a valid defense,” she said

Text messages shed light on working relationship between Jack Latvala, accuser

The Florida Senate employee who sparked a Senate sexual harassment investigation against Sen. Jack Latvala called Senate President Joe Negron a “douchebag” during a text message exchange last Session with the Pinellas lawmaker.

Rachel Perrin Rogers, a top aide to Republican Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, was texting Latvala when news broke in April about ousted Sen. Frank Artiles referring to Negron as a “pussy.”

“Well maybe DB should not have rolled his eyes at me, and then walked out with LB and Flwhores when I suggested an actual PR plan,” Perrin Rogers wrote. (Editor’s note: LB presumably refers to Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto and “Flwhores” to Sen. Anitere Flores.)

When the 66-year-old Clearwater Republican asked what “DB” stood for, she said “douchebag.”

While the text messages released between Latvala and Perrin Rogers on Wednesday show a friendly relationship between the two throughout last Session — including a meme, and a text saying “Smile, somebody loves you!” followed by a heart emoji — Perrin Rogers’ attorney, Tiffany Cruz, said any texts she sent to Latvala were “an effort to accomplish one goal: garner his support for Senator Simpson and his agenda.”

The text messages, all of which were sent between Feb. 12, 2014, and June 22, 2017, reveal a complex, albeit comfortable relationship between Latvala and Rogers.

“If I’d been at the Capitol I would have given you a big hug/bought you a drink after all of that yesterday,” Rogers texted Latvala on Nov. 6, 2015, not soon after Rogers returned to her Senate work after a leave of absence.

“You are a flawed person,” Rogers told Latvala, a sixteen-year veteran of the Florida Legislature, “but I have always felt like I shared the same flaws and that is part of why, no matter what else happened, I admire and respect you and very much want you to succeed. The other part of my admiration and respect is based on what you’ve done for people. I know you will continue to do great things for Florida.”

Latvala’s response: “Thanks … i guess :)”

Cruz told the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald, in a story published after Florida Politics first revealed the existence of these messages, that “the message in which she offered to give Latvala a hug when Rogers returned from her leave of absence occurred after Latvala ‘had done something very helpful to Wilton Simpson that day, which is what she was thanking him for.’ “

Cruz also said that the reason Rogers took a leave of absence from the Senate in March 2015 was because of one of the harassment incidents with Latvala. She returned, Cruz said, “because she was asked to come back.”

Latvala and Rogers exchanged at least eight text messages during the period Rogers was on leave. One of the text messages included an April Fools Day message from Rogers to Latvala that had the words “A day dedicated to fools? I see fools every day. I’m sick of it” constructed around a picture of Latvala.

Weeks after that — after the 2017 Legislative Session had ended and after all of the inappropriate actions Rogers alleges Latvala engaged in took place — Rogers texted Latvala to ask for a personal favor for her a family member and to see if arrangements had been made for her to attend a fundraiser for Latvala held in Maine.

The text messages are part of a sworn affidavit signed by Latvala on Wednesday as he continues to mount a defense against the sexual harassment allegations he is facing. They were released on the same day Perrin Rogers decided to go public with her accusations, who told POLITICO Florida that one of the reasons for doing so was to stop Latvala, a “malevolent” politician from spreading lies about her and her husband, Brian Hughes.

When Perrin Rogers’ identity was anonymous, Latvala claimed his accuser’s husband was working for one of his political opponents in the race for governor.

Cruz added that the release of the affidavit is “another blatant attempt to spread misinformation and distract from the real issue.” She also said “Flwhores” was a typo for Flores, and not a nickname for her.

“I will say it again, at no time did my client invite or encourage Latvala to touch private parts of her body. At no time did my client ask to be subjected to verbal or physical harassment,” she said.

Cruz confirmed the authenticity of the text messages to Florida Politics.

According to the affidavit, John D. Sawicki, the president of the Forensic Data Corp. verified their authenticity. Florida Politics also called the number listed and it went directly to Perrin Rogers’ voicemail.

The 35-year-old was one of six women who told POLITICO Florida that she was sexually harassed and groped by Latvala, who has repeatedly denied the claims and continues to campaign for governor.

Five days after the news report came out, Perrin Rogers filed a sworn complaint with the Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Benacquisto, a close ally of Negron who is overseeing the complaint and will eventually determine if there is probable cause with the facts presented in the case.

While it’s unclear how much power Negron has over the complaint process, he could have influence over Benacquisto based on their longtime association.

Perrin Rogers’s identity also raises a potential conflict of interest with Benacquisto, who in 2016 paid her husband more than $9,000 in media buy and consulting services.

Negron’s office and the lead investigator in the probe, Tampa-based attorney Gail Holtzman, declined to comment on the potential conflict of interest.

While these text messages are surfacing, the state’s executive cabinet has made a point of distancing itself from the Clearwater Republican.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis was the last to disavow the ongoing investigation, telling POLITICO Friday he’s “disappointed in this entire situation.”

Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam have made similar remarks distancing themselves from the suspended Senate budget chief.

Attorney General Pam Bondi said on Friday her “heart breaks” for the alleged victims.

Jack Latvala accuser outs herself, sets up potential conflict of interest in Senate probe

Rachel Perrin Rogers, an aide to future Senate President Wilton Simpson, has publicly identified herself as one of the women accusing Sen. Jack Latvala of sexual harassment, according to a POLITICO Florida report.

In doing so, a potential conflict of interest is raised in the Senate investigation into the claims because Perrin Rogers is married to Brian Hughes, a consultant to Senate Rules Chair Lizbeth Benacquisto.

According to campaign finance records, Benacquisto paid Hughes’ company, Meteoric Media Strategies, $9,325 in media buy and consulting services in the 2016 election cycle.

Benacquisto is tasked with overseeing the complaint Perrin Rogers filed with her committee on Nov. 8. The contents of the charge are not public, but her attorney, Tiffany Cruz, has said it relates to sexual harassment.

Under Senate rules, if Benacquisto finds probable cause in the complaint, a special master would be involved and conduct their own investigation as to what the appropriate punishment would be for the accused.

Rogers told POLITICO Florida that Latvala groped her — something he has time and time again denied — and said she came out publicly because he was spreading lies about her and her husband.

Latvala, who knew Rogers was behind the complaint after a deal was struck with investigators in exchange for anonymity, falsely said Perrin Rogers was married to one of his political opponents. The Clearwater Republican is running for governor.

“The confidentiality that I was promised under Florida law has been violated,” Perrin Rogers said in a written statement.

Steve Andrews, one of Latvala’s Tallahassee-based attorneys, declined to comment on the allegations raised by Perrin Rogers. But in the past, he called for Benacquisto to recuse herself from any involvement in the investigation claiming she violate Senate privacy rules.

Senate President Joe Negron denied Andrews’ request.

Katie Betta, a spokesperson for Negron’s office, and Gail Holtzman who is the lead investigator in the Senate probe, both declined to comment on the potential conflict of interest citing the ongoing investigation.

Jack Latvala now knows accuser’s name, agrees to keep it secret

Sen. Jack Latvala has learned the name of the woman formally accusing him of sexual harassment, but he and his legal team agreed to respect her anonymity after striking a deal with investigators.

The special master investigating the Senate Rules Committee complaint handed a copy to the Clearwater Republican’s attorneys late last week in exchange for keeping the accuser’s name and her claims confidential as the probe moves forward.

“We know who the complainant is and we are hopeful the special master won’t find probable cause,” said Steve Andrews, one of Latvala’s attorneys.

Under Senate rules, when a filing complaint, a special master is hired to conduct an investigation, sift through evidence and determine whether a punishment is appropriate.

The rules complaint is only one element of the Latvala investigation.

Senate President Joe Negron first opened an independent investigation into the harassment claims following a POLITICO Florida report. Tampa-based attorney Gail Holtzman is leading that portion, and Negron has also retained attorneys from the GrayRobinson law firm to represent his chamber.

The woman, only identified as a Senate staff member, created a separate investigation when she filed a rules complaint, which is presided over by a special master, retired 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Ronald V. Swanson.

The separate track has given Andrews some concern.

“We are concerned that there is a double jeopardy with two separate independent investigations going on,” Andrews said.

John “Mac” Stipanovich, a lobbyist who has worked in Tallahassee for more than 30 years, said he does not recall seeing a case such as the one Latvala faces.

And while the attorneys of both Latvala and his accuser have agreed to the Senate’s confidentiality terms, he added that in Tallahassee — a “petri dish for rumors” — not much can remain secret.

“Tallahassee is a very small town, and in this particular case ‘anonymous’ and ‘unpublished’ does not mean it is unknown,” said Stipanovich, with the Tallahassee office of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

Gun bills could get jammed again in Senate

Gun-related issues for the 2018 Session could be firing blanks in the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature.

The 60-day regular Session still won’t start for a little under two months. But Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube said Tuesday that “at this time” he doesn’t plan to file two gun bills that have been among the more-controversial issues in recent sessions.

One of those proposals would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on university and college campuses. The other proposal would allow license-holders to openly carry handguns.

Steube, a prominent gun-rights supporter, made the comments Tuesday after his committee postponed two other firearm-related measures.

One of the postponed measures (SB 274) would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns at private schools that are on the same property as religious institutions. Other than law-enforcement officers, people are now barred from carrying guns at schools.

The second postponed bill (SB 148) would reduce penalties for people who inadvertently allow legally carried guns to be openly displayed.

Last week, the Judiciary Committee postponed a measure (SB 134) that would have allowed people with concealed-weapons licenses to store firearms with security officers at courthouses. Current law prevents people from carrying guns into courthouses.

Steube, a Sarasota Republican who is pushing for the “courthouse carry” measure and the bill to reduce penalties people who inadvertently display guns, refused to say that any of the proposals are dead before the legislative session begins Jan. 9.

“I have full intention to put them back up, and hopefully we’ll get to a point where we’ll do an up or down vote,” he said.

Asked if gun-related measures are in trouble for the 2018 session, National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer said she never makes predictions.

“There’s an old saying, `It ain’t over ’til it’s over.’ ” Hammer said in an email. “And we haven’t even started.”

Steube’s words echoed his refrains from much of the 2017 Session when a pair of South Florida Republican members of his committee joined with Democrats on gun-related issues, effectively blocking contentious bills.

“Obviously we had challenges getting it through committee last (Session), so we’ll just have to wait and see,” Steube said Tuesday.

The committee is expected to next meet on Dec. 5 during a final week of committee meetings before the session.

In the 2017 Session, the Senate approved the courthouse-carry proposal in a 19-15 vote. But the House did not take it up, noting that other bills backed by Second Amendment advocates failed to get approved by the Senate.

Florida had issued more than 1.8 million concealed-weapons licenses as of Oct. 31, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees the program.

Why is the lawyer for Jack Latvala’s accuser leaving so many breadcrumbs?

I do not know any of identities of the six women who have accused state Senator Jack Latvala of sexual harassment.

And, to be frank, I don’t want to know who they are until they are ready to come forward. That’s their privilege.

Because what’s been lost in all of the discussion about procedures and politics is the fact that six women – anonymous or not – went to POLITICO Florida with their stories about Latvala. That was not easy.

Is what happened to them what actually happened? Is what they believe happened actually sexual harassment? These are the kind of questions our betters will have to decide.

In the meantime, everyone in The Process is wondering who is Woman X? Who is the woman POLITICO Florida reports has filed both a Florida Senate Rules Committee complaint AND an internal workplace complaint against Latvala?

Again, I don’t want to know. At least not until Woman X is ready to reveal herself or her identity becomes part of the public record.

But it sure seems like Woman X’s attorney, Tiffany Cruz, wants to out her client. If you read this story from POLITICO Florida, Cruz leaves more breadcrumbs leading to her client’s identity than Hansel and Gretel did in the forest.

Consider the clues:

“My client is a current Senate staffer,” says Cruz, narrowing the list of possible victims to a few hundred women, while eliminating many others.

Cruz continues: “She is a professional woman in her own right…” So, Woman X is probably (and all of this is really just assumption and guessing) more likely to be staff director or lawyer or a senior legislative aide (as opposed to a district aide or an OPS employee.)

Cruz does not want her client “…to be defined by who she’s married to…” Two clues here, one obvious, one inferred. First, she’s married. This narrows the list of possibilities significantly. And the way Cruz frames that statement about not defining Woman X by who she’s married to leads me to believe whomever she’s married to is significant enough that Cruz doesn’t want his situation clouding the issue. Is it a stretch to assume that Woman X’s husband is someone in The Process?

And because of Cruz, we know she has a child or has children. (The way Cruz says “… or who she’s the mother to…” as opposed to “mother of” leads me to believe Woman X has one child, not children.

So if you go just by what Cruz has shared, Woman X is a staff director or senior legislative aide who is married, likely to someone who works in the Legislature or politics writ large, and has a child, possibly children.

And let’s not forget, this woman took her story to POLITICO Florida (although this is an assumption because Cruz would not confirm that her client is one of the original six women who spoke to POLITICO Florida), specifically Marc Caputo, who is rarely in Tallahassee, rather than a hometown reporter (wherever hometown is). That speaks to Woman X possessing a certain level of media savvy.

Those are a lot of breadcrumbs left by the attorney for a woman who so far has sought to remain anonymous. Undoubtedly, Latvala’s attorney, Steve Andrews, has spotted additional breadcrumbs. Other uninvolved, but interested, third-parties probably have found a few clues themselves.

How long will Woman X’s identity remain a secret?

Attorneys in Jack Latvala probe start building strategies

The attorney representing a woman who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Sen. Jack Latvala says she has not discarded the possibility of taking the case to court if a conflict of interest arises in the Senate investigation.

“Anything could happen at this point, it is still very early to tell,” Tallahassee-based attorney Tiffany Cruz told Florida Politics.

Steve Andrews, who represents the Clearwater Republican, however, wants to work with the Senate’s lead investigator, Tampa-based attorney Gail Holtzman, to keep that from happening.

“We want to work out the procedural process with her without getting the courts involved,” Andrews said.

With Holtzman at the helm, Andrews is at ease even though he initially wanted to have a former law enforcement official lead the probe to referee conflicting testimony. He is also not worried of Holtzman having a conflict of interest in the case and said that those who think there is one because she is from Tampa — the same region as Latvala — are “stupid.”

“I think this girl will do a good job and she will be remembered,” Andrews said.

With all sides lawyered up, specifics continue to be ironed out. First on the list for Andrews is making sure due process protections are in place for Latvala, who has denied all the sexual misconduct allegations raised against him by six anonymous women in a POLITICO Florida report. Andrews worries the Senate has “no rules” in place when it comes to handling interviews with potential accusers.

Cruz declined to give specifics about her handling of the case, and would not say whether more women in The Process have reached out to her about filing complaints against Latvala.

Meanwhile, Latvala’s defense team is using strategies that include having the powerful senator take a lie-detector test and taking sworn video statements from more than 10 women, including lobbyists and staffers, who think favorably of the gubernatorial candidate’s character and behavior. This is something a number of women, who have worked closely with Latvala over the years, have done since the claims came to light.

It remains unclear exactly how the polygraph test, in which Latvala denies “intentionally” touching women inappropriately, will work in the defense. But Andrews believes it helps debunk the anonymous claims. The scientific community, though, has said polygraph tests are flawed for some years, and the tests are not always admissible in court.

According to the test results, Latvala was “being truthful” when he said he didn’t intentionally touch a woman’s private parts, touched a woman’s breasts or buttocks at the Capitol,  or rubbed a Senate staffer’s leg.

“(We) had to put the word intentionally in there, because the question there is, was there negligence?” Andrews said. “There has to be an intentional component to it.”

Cruz declined to comment whether she would consent to the test results’ submission as evidence in  the case.

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