Former Florida GOP chairman pleads guilty in fraud case
A trial expected to last two weeks was suddenly shortened to 10 minutes Monday when former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer made a surprise guilty plea to five criminal charges.
Greer was facing a possible 75 years in prison for fraud, money laundering and theft, but now has a possible maximum sentence of 35 years.
A hearing in late March will decide whether the sentence will include a combination of prison time and probation, according to the newspaper.
A longtime ally of former Gov. Charlie Crist, Greer was charged in 2010 with funneling state party funds into his private consulting company. He had left the chairmanship earlier that year after state Republican leaders and donors raised questions about his leadership and management of party funds.
Greer, however, was closely tied to Crist during the then-governor's Senate run against Marco Rubio. Crist first ran as a Republican before switching to run as an independent. He has now joined the Democratic Party and could potentially be considering a run for governor in 2014 when Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, is up for re-election.
Crist was among those expected to testify in the trial during the next couple of weeks, along with other high profile Florida political figures, such as former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, former U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney and former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
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