Ex-NPA candidate Alex Rodriguez will take plea, assist prosecution of Frank Artiles

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The planned Aug. 30 trial start date will be pushed back due to the plea deal.

Alex Rodriguez, who prosecutors say ran a sham candidacy in last year’s razor-thin Senate District 37 contest, is set to take a plea deal and cooperate in the case against Frank Artiles.

Prosecutors charged Artiles with illegally funding Rodriguez’s bid against former Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, with whom the third-party candidate shares a last name. Then-Sen. Rodríguez lost the race to Republican candidate Ileana Garcia by just 32 votes. Alex Rodriguez, who ran with no party affiliation, pulled in nearly 6,400 votes.

That led to charges against Alex Rodriguez and Artiles. Thursday morning, NBC6’s Phil Prazan first reported that Rodriguez would agree to a plea and serve as a cooperating witness.

Prazan also noted that defense attorneys asked to delay the trial date to secure a deposition from Rodriguez. That trial date, which had been scheduled for Aug. 30, will now be moved back 60 days. Rodriguez will officially agree to a plea next Tuesday.

News of Rodriguez’s plan to formally cooperate isn’t all that surprising. Prosecutors say Rodriguez confessed to the scheme when confronted by investigators. And when charges were announced in in mid-March, Rodriguez’s attorney put out a statement saying Rodriguez “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. Investigators also seized multiple electronics in connection to the investigation during a raid on Artiles’ Palmetto Bay home.

Garcia, who won the SD 37 contest and now serves as Senator, 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 after 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.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]



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