The trial for former Sen. Frank Artiles, accused of propping up a sham candidate in a Miami-Dade Senate race last fall, and that candidate, Alex Rodriguez, will begin Aug. 30.
That information comes per the Miami Herald’s Samantha Gross, citing a judge’s decision Wednesday.
Investigators say Artiles, a Republican, illegally funneled money to Rodriguez, who ran as a non-party affiliated candidate in the 2020 Senate District 37 contest.
Rodriguez collected nearly 6,400 votes in that contest. Then-Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez — with whom the third-party candidate shares a last name — lost the race to Republican candidate Ileana Garcia by just 32 votes.
The razor-thin race saw machine and hand recounts. Nearly 216,000 votes were cast in total.
A December Miami Herald report cited sources who said Artiles took credit for the spoiler candidacy. Now, he and Alex Rodriguez are set to face a trial in late August. Rodriguez’s attorney, however, has said he’s cooperating with authorities.
According to that attorney, William Barzee, Rodriguez said he “deeply regrets allowing himself to be used in this way and hopes that by coming forth with the truth he can help to right these wrongs.”
Artiles paid Alex Rodriguez more than $55,000, with all but $10,900 attributable to the candidacy, according to documents outlining Artiles’ actions. Garcia has denied knowledge of any wrongdoing.
“I can’t attest, I can’t say, and I can’t answer for someone I don’t know and for something that I haven’t done,” Garcia said following Artiles’ arrest. “I am not the focal point of this.”
In March, the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s office also said it had no evidence Garcia was part of the alleged plan.
Artiles served in the House for six years before winning the Senate District 40 seat in 2016. He resigned from the Senate in 2017 after using a racial slur and other derogatory language at the Governor’s Club.
SD 37 spans portions of Miami-Dade County, including Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest. Rodriguez didn’t reside in Miami-Dade County. He rented a home in Palm Beach County, according to records.