TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court on Monday denied Gov. Charlie Crist's request to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate public corruption.
In a 6-1 decision, the court said the governor's petition did not meet the minimum allegations required by statute and failed to specify general crimes. Justice Charles Canady, one of four Crist appointees on the court, was the lone dissenter.
The governor's office filed an amended petition almost immediately.
Crist, who is leaving office after one term to seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, made his request Oct. 14, just two weeks after a top campaign contributor, Dr. Alan Mendelsohn of Hollywood, surrendered to the FBI on charges he ran a fraudulent multimillion-dollar fundraising and lobbying operation.
Three prominent politicians in Florida's second-most populous county, Democrat-controlled Broward County, were arrested in September on federal corruption charges, accused of accepting thousands of dollars in cash from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking illegal favors.
Crist said he's removed 30 public officials from office for wrongdoing during his three years as governor.
Another high profile case involved former House Speaker Ray Sansom, a Destin Republican who was forced from his post in February after a state grand jury indicted him for perjury and official misconduct. The latter charge was eventually dismissed.
Sansom took a six-figure job with a Panhandle college on the same day he formally became speaker in February. Sansom had earlier put $6 million into the state budget to build an airplane hangar for a key GOP fundraiser, Jay Odom of Destin.
That jury also indicted Odom for aiding official misconduct and former Northwest Florida State College President Bob Richburg, who was subsequently fired by the school.