Spence Jones Claims Defamation, Plans To Sue State Attorney
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Having tried and failed twice to convict Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones on public corruption charges, the State Attorney’s Office in Miami-Dade may soon find itself in court, defending against charges of misconduct in pursuing Jones.
In a letter to the county’s top prosecutor Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle, attorneys for Spence-Jones said the commissioner plans to name Rundle and her employees in a suit claiming “prosecutorial and investigatory misconduct,” according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
By law, state agencies must be given six months notice before a suit against them is filed.
In the letter, Fernandez Rundle and her office are accused of defaming Spence-Jones “before, during and after the baseless criminal prosecutions” both in the media and in a close out memo.
Last March, Spence-Jones was acquitted by a jury of charges that she had solicited a $25,000 bribe from a prominent developer.
In August, the State Attorney’s Office dropped Grand Theft charges they had leveled against her. Spence-Jones was accused of illegally steering $50,000 in county grants to a family business in 2005, before her tenure as a commissioner began.
Initially, Carey-Shuler denied that she had authored an official 2005 letter that re-directed money from the county-affiliated Metro Miami Action Plan Trust to Karym Ventures, the Spence-Jones family company.
When investigators first questioned Carey-Shuler about the letter, which bore her letterhead and signature stamp, she said she never intended for the money to go to the company.
Prosecutors relied on Carey-Shuler’s testimony and cast the letter as a forgery. But Carey-Shuler’s story changed defense attorney Peter Raben uncovered an early draft of the letter, with revisions penned by Carey-Shuler herself. In a close out memo for this case, lead prosecutor Richard Scruggs suggested that Spence-Jones or a supporter planted the early draft letter.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.