Ethics Commissioners ruled 6-1 Rudy Maloy did not violate state statutes against abusing his public office. And some of them said while they didn't agree with that decision ethically, legally, it was the only choice.
Ethics Commissioners acquitted Leon County Commissioner Rudy Maloy, saying a judge's "not guilty" ruling left them with few options.
"We've spoken. Everybody knows where we stand on the morality issue. They also know we stand and yield to the law," comments Mallory Horne of the Florida Commission on Ethics.
In January, four women testified Maloy sexually harassed them and abused his public office.
But judge John Vanlaningham said it was their word against Maloy's, finding the commissioner not guilty.
"The women testified they felt pressured to engage in activities with Maloy. The judge didn't find that," says Vrilindia Doss, an advocate for Ethics Commission.
Maloy's attorney Bruce Minnick accused Ethics Commissioners of trying to get around the law and said politics started it all.
"There's a group of people in this county and area that want to unseat Commissioner Maloy because he's the most popular African American politician in this region," says Minnick.
Commissioner Maloy's next court fight will be over legal fees. Maloy's acquittal on criminal charges cost some $340,000. His attorney is currently suing Leon County for that money.
Since he was reinstated this spring, Maloy hasn't been allowed to supervise his own aide.
Now that he no longer faces ethics charges, commissioners will decide whether to give him that power back.