Tallahassee, Florida- July 24, 2012
A motion to gag attorneys defending a woman making accusations against Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll fell flat today. But even though a gag order was denied both sides have agreed to tone it down.
In a quick court hearing, following a long closed door meeting, a Leon County Judge refused to silence attorneys making allegations against Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll.
“I’m not going to enter a gag order, but I’m expecting compliance with the rule of professional conduct,” said Judge Frank Sheffield from the bench in a Tuesday morning hearing.
The prosecution sought the gag order in the case of Carletha Cole, the former Carroll employee charged with distributing an illegal recording.
Cole’s attorneys claim their client was setup because she caught Carroll in a “compromising position” with a female aide. The allegations made headlines across the globe.
The Governor’s office dismissed the claims as “outrageous” and directed me to the state attorney’s office for any comment on the case, but after Tuesday’s hearing the prosecutor bolted out of the courtroom without talking to reporters.
Steve Andrews, one of Cole’s attorneys, stuck around. Andrews says the judge wasn’t happy with how attorneys on both sides were handling the case.
“It was joint scolding. You know Judge Sheffield wants a fair trial and so do we,” said Andrews.
“All sides should air on the side of caution with regards to public statements and we will,” said Andrews.
Before Andrews began speaking out, he says Cole wasn’t being treated fairly in the media. Now, he feels, as he backs away from the spotlight, the playing field for his client in the court of public opinion has been leveled.
The next move for the defense is to file a deposition list, and Carroll will be on it. ____________________________________________________
Tallahassee, Florida – July 24, 2012
State Attorney Willie Meggs has filed a motion in Leon County Circuit Court to bar Carletha Cole and her attorneys from discussing with the press details of Cole’s case. The gag order request, filed on Friday, comes in response to allegations by Cole that she walked in on Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and another female aid in a sexually compromising position.
Meggs said recent actions by Cole and her lawyers is making it difficult to prosecute the case against Cole, a former Carroll aide who was fired and faces charges of illegally leaking tape recorded messages to a Jacksonville reporter. Carroll is not a party in the case.
“The efforts on the part of the defense to try this case in the media include an on camera interviews given by Mr. (Stephen) Webster (Cole’s attorney) to a local news station on at least two separate occasions within the last week,” Meggs wrote in his motion. “The extensive media coverage in this case will effect both the State and the Defense’s respective rights to a fair trial here in Leon County.”
Tallahassee, Florida- July 23, 2012
The state is trying to silence accusations against Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll. Today prosecutors filed a gag motion in the case of Carletha Cole.
Cole is the former Carroll employee charged with distributing an illegal recording. Earlier this month Cole’s attorney filed a motion alleging Carroll carried on a sexual relationship with a female employee and covered up a fire in Cole’s office. Prosecutors say those claims have nothing to do with the criminal case. They want the defense to stop talking about them. But Cole’s attorney Steve Webster says the allegations show his client was bullied and setup and he’s speaking out to protect his client’s reputation.
“I stand by it 100 percent and I’m going to fight doggedly to show, to bring to light these motives and biases that exist and clearly exist and are corroborated by public records.”
The judge is expected to rule on the gag motion tomorrow morning after a nine o’clock hearing. In the state’s motion, the prosecution claims an Internet search of Cole and Carroll returns more than 235 news stories, signally the jury pool could become contaminated.