Alex Rodriguez will avoid prison time for running an illegal sham candidacy in last year’s Senate District 37 contest, according to the Miami Herald’s Samantha Gross who reported the details of the plea deal.
Rodriguez is pleading guilty to accepting excess campaign contributions and lying on documents submitted to the state. He’ll serve 36 months probation, including 12 months on house arrest with a GPS monitor, the Herald reported. Rodriguez had faced up to 20 years in prison.
Rodriguez announced last week he would plead guilty and cooperate with the investigation into former GOP Sen. Frank Artiles, who investigators say set up the scheme.
Rodriguez, who ran with no party affiliation, collected nearly 6,400 votes in last year’s SD 37 race. Then-Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, with whom the third-party candidate shares a last name, lost the election to GOP candidate Ileana Garcia by just 32 votes out of more than 215,000 cast.
Prosecutors charged Artiles with illegally funding the third-party bid and recruiting Alex Rodriguez to run. According to Gross, Rodriguez apologized Tuesday while accepting his plea terms.
“I am deeply sorry for my actions and I want to apologize to my family, my loved ones and my friends,” Rodriguez said. “I would like to offer a sincere apology to the people of Senate District 37.”
That mirrors sentiment from Rodriguez at the time charges were first announced in mid-March. At that time, Rodriguez’s attorney issued 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.”
But it wasn’t until Tuesday that Rodriguez formally pleaded guilty. Now, prosecutors will continue their case against Artiles.
Prosecutors say Artiles paid Alex Rodriguez more than $55,000, with all but $10,900 attributable to the candidacy. He and Rodriguez were set to be tried together starting Aug. 30. But the Rodriguez plea deal has pushed that trial start date back 60 days.
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 in Tallahassee.
August 24, 2021 at 12:12 pm
Conservatives scream and yell about election fraud and make it more difficult for minorities and the sick and the poor to vote, but are the ones that are actually committing the crime.
August 25, 2021 at 3:10 pm
This is such a blatant and obvious example of voter suppression. Why weren’t the election results thrown out, and a new election ordered?
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