Sarasota prosecutors won’t bring battery charges on Jonathan Martin, a likely incoming state Senator.
Prosecutors were assigned to examine an incident at a Lee County Republican Executive Committee (REC) meeting in May where Martin stopped an individual from livestreaming the meeting on Facebook. Martin serves as Chair of the Lee County Republican Party and was pushing for the REC to endorse School Board candidates.
The alleged victim, Simon Susko, in June reported the matter to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Susko did so shortly after his mother, Tara Jenner, filed to challenge Martin for the open Florida Senate District 33 seat.
Gov. Ron DeSantis reassigned the case to Florida’s 12th Judicial Circuit after local State Attorney Amira Fox recused herself from the case.
After weeks of investigation and interviewing the victim and nine other witnesses, prosecutors determined there was no evidence a crime was committed.
“There is insufficient credible corroborative evidence to prove the charge and overcome legal defenses beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, the charge will be declined,” reads a memo by Assistant State Attorney Kevin Hindson and Division Chief Brian Chambers.
Martin heralded the decision.
“I am glad to see our system of justice worked in this case,” he said. “An accusation was made by a political opponent for political reasons, the accusation was investigated by law enforcement, the information collected was handed over to the prosecutor who then made a legal decision based on all the evidence. Despite the clickbait corporate media headlines and political smear campaign accusations, the truth won out.
“I applaud State Attorney Ed Brodsky and his team for thoroughly looking at the accusation and making a decision based on the law. I will continue moving forward with my team on the campaign trail, advocating for the people of Lee County, and standing with Gov. DeSantis and my Senate colleagues as we work tirelessly to protect the conservative values that keep Florida free.”
Martin is the only Republican filed for the Senate seat, and he entered the seat with the endorsement of DeSantis. He filed during qualification after a surprise announcement incumbent Sen. Ray Rodrigues would not seek another term. Martin faces only write-in opposition in the election.