Charges To Be Dropped In Secret Recording Case

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UPDATED by Julie Montanaro
August 21, 2013

Charges will be dropped against a former aide to Florida lieutenant governor Jennifer Carroll.

Carletha Cole was arrseted in 2011 and accused of illegally recording a conversation with lieutneant governor's chief of staff.

Court records show Cole signed a pre-trial diversion deal late Monday.

According to her attorney, Cole will spend a year on probation, do 50 hours of community service and the charges will be dropped.

The case included accusations of a lesbian affair, pitures of a trash can fire and a court debate over whether the lieutenant governor should be forced to testify in the case.

The trial was scheduled for next month.

Now that is all moot.

We'll have much more on the story later on Eyewitness News.

By: Gina Pitisci

Tallahassee, FL - A judge decided today whether the former Lt. Governor, Jennifer Carroll, will have to testify in the illegal recording case against her former aide, Carletha Cole.

"Is subject to deposition at this point same as any other member of the population in the state of Florida," said Judge Frank Sheffield, Florida 2nd Judicial Circuit, Leon County.

That was the answer Judge Frank Sheffield gave to Carletha Cole's attorney when he asked about the status of former Lt. Governor, Jennifer Carroll testifying in the case against Cole.

"That was because you were concerned about them asking questions infringe upon her office as Lt. Governor of the state of Florida, well, she's not anymore," Judge Sheffield said.

Cole is facing felony charges for allegedly disclosing tape recorded conversations with Carroll's chief of staff to a Jacksonville reporter.

"This is a digital recording," Steven Andrews, Attorney for Carletha Cole, said. "If it was transferred to anywhere to the server from the server there would be a meta data trail which would allow the state's IT people to know exactly when it was recorded, when it was transferred and to whom."

Andrews says it's very difficult to defend a case when the state is giving at least a 30 day window when the taped conversation could have been recorded.

Following the hearing today, both attorneys and Carletha Cole declined to answer any questions or comment on camera.

Associated Press Release

Tallahassee, FL - A Leon County judge is rejecting a request to shield Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll from a criminal case involving a former aide.

Circuit Judge Frank Sheffield SAID that ex-aide Carletha Cole is entitled to defend herself.

Cole was arrested in 2011 for allegedly giving a reporter a secret recording containing a conversation between Cole and Carroll's chief of staff.

The Scott administration sought to block questioning of Carroll after lawyers for Cole filed court documents in which Cole claimed to have found Carroll in a compromising position with her travel aide.
Carroll called the allegations false and absurd.

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