Court Cases I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

[UPDATE] "Secret Recording" Case Over

By: Julie Montanaro, Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Julie Montanaro, Lanetra Bennett Email

UPDATED 9.26.2011 by Julie Montanaro

Court records show that Kathleen Harvey has signed a deferred prosecution agreement that will result in the charges against her being dropped.

Harvey was accused of illegally recording a conversation with former Leon County Commissioner Cliff Thaell back in February 2009 and then releasing that tape to his political opponent before the next election.

According to the agreement, Harvey must do 50 hours of community service in the next year and not talk publicly about the case. If she complies and does not commit any new crimes, the state will not pursue any further prosecution.

Harvey was slated to go to trial on the illegal recording charges today.

We are trying to reach Cliff Thaell for comment.

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UPDATE 3-28 5:05 pm

Trial has been delayed for Kathleen Harvey, the woman accused of taping a conversation with former Leon County Commissioner Cliff Thaell.

Assistant State Attorney Nathan Prince tells us tonight that Harvey came in and asked for a public defender and was granted one. So now a case management conference has been set for April 19th.

Last week, a judge denied Harvey's request to delay the trial because she was representing herself.

Harvey is accused of taping a conversation with Thaell in 2009, which is illegal under Florida law unless all parties agree to it.

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UPDATED by Candace Sweat 3-24 10:46 p.m.

A Tallahassee woman accused of illegally recording a conversation with a former county commissioner went before a judge today.

As Reporter Candace Sweat tells us, she walked away disappointed, and now faces the possibility of becoming a convicted felon.

Kathleen Harvey walked out of a Tallahassee courtroom with her request denied.

A judge did not grant her wishes to delay the trial which means she will appear in court on felony charges next week.

"I just think it was unfair. Judge Hankinson didn't even give me an opportunity to present all the facts," said Harvey.

Harvey was arrested in September of last year, accused of recording a conversation with commissioner Cliff Thaell in February 2009 in which they discussed problems with the county's pre-trial program.

She gave that recording to Thaell's political rival Nick Maddox, a few months before last fall's election.

The state offered Harvey a Deferred Prosecution Agreement or DPA, which would allow her to do a community service and write a letter of apology. She declined the offer and will now have to represent herself in court.

"I thought that the most just outcome for the case was a DPA which is why I offered it. But everybody has the right to go to trial and she chose to go to trial so that's what we're going to do," said Assistant State Attorney, Nathan Prince.

Prince says if Harvey decides as late as Friday morning that she actually wants to take the DPA, he would still consider offering it. But as of now, she's stands to defend herself on felony charges.

"Are you prepared to go to trial at this time? Not this very minute, but I will do my best to do so by Monday," said Harvey.

The trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday at 8: 30 a.m.

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[UPDATE] 3-24 3:27pm --

The judge denied a motion to continue. The judge also accepted Harvey's plea of not guilty. The trial is scheduled to being at 8:30am on March 29.

Stay with WCTV for more on the story.

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[UPDATE] 2-08 12:06PM

Trial will not go as scheduled for the woman accused of illegally taping conversations with then Leon County Commissioner Cliff Thaell.

Kathleen Harvey came to her case management hearing representing herself Tuesday.

The trial was set for February 14th, but, in Tuesday's hearing, Harvey asked Judge Jackie Fulford to allow her more time to find a new lawyer.

During Harvey's last hearing, her lawyer withdrew from the case saying she and her client were not seeing eye to eye.

Harvey said, "I just wanted to make sure I got adequate representation this time around. Considering the political nature of the case, it's been a little bit harder than I expected. I'm kind of in shock that I'm even here to go through this."

The judge granted Harvey two more weeks to find a lawyer. A case management hearing is set for February 22nd.

Judge Fulford denied Harvey's request to lift an order restricting Harvey from entering the courthouse.

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[UPDATE] 1-18 5:19PM

A Tallahassee woman arrested for illegally recording a conversation with a Leon County Commissioner was back in court Tuesday morning.

Kathleen Harvey is facing a felony for recording a conversation with then-commissioner Cliff Thaell without his permission.

Tuesday, Harvey's attorney told the judge that she is filing a motion to withdraw from the case by the end of the day, saying she and Harvey are "not seeing eye to eye."

Earlier this month, Harvey's attorney tried unsuccessfully to have the charges dismissed, claiming Thaell had no expectation of privacy as a public official, discussing a public matter in a public office.

Judge Hankinson told Harvey to have a new lawyer by the next court hearing on February 8th.

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[UPDATE] 1-18 10:45AM --

The attorney for Kathleen Harvey plans to file a motion to withdraw from the case, citing she and Kathleen having "irreconcilable differences."

On February 8, there will be a case management hearing. The judge told Harvey to make sure to have a new attorney by Feb. 8.

The trial is still set for Feb. 14.

Stay with WCTV for details.

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UPDATED 1.3.2011 7pm by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee woman arrested in the midst of a heated campaign for county commission is still on the hook for an illegal recording.

Kathleen Harvey is facing a felony for recording a conversation with then-commissioner Cliff Thaell without his permission.

Today, Harvey was in court, trying to have those charges dismissed.

Her attorney contends Thaell had no expectation of privacy because he was a public official, in a public office, discussing a matter of public interest.

The judge refused to dismiss the charges.

Trial is set for Valentine's Day.

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UPDATED 12.20.2010 6:30pm by Julie Montanaro

A woman accused of illegally recording a conversation with a Leon County commissioner is pushing to have those charges dropped, but a decision on that will have to wait until after the new year.

Kathleen Harvey was arrested in September and accused of recording a conversation with commissioner Cliff Thaell in which they discussed problems with the county's pre-trial program.

She gave that recording to Thaell's political rival Nick Maddox, a few months before this fall's election.

Harvey has filed a motion to dismiss the felony charges.

That motion was scheduled to be heard in court today (12-20-10), but has been rescheduled for January 3rd.

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UPDATED 11.02.2010 5:35pm by Julie Montanaro

A woman accused of illegally taping a Leon County Commissioner winds up in court on election day.

Kathleen Harvey is asking a judge to drop the charges against her, calling her arrest nothing short of a political gag order.

Kathleen Harvey says she never imagined recording a meeting with a county commissioner could have landed her here facing felony charges.

"There is absolutely no criminal about this. I broke no law. I know that I'm going to win this, absolutely, hands down. It is political," Harvey said.

Harvey is accused of illegally recording a meeting she had with longtime county commissioner Cliff Thaell back in February 2009. She was arrested in September soon after sharing that recording with Thaell's political rival Nick Maddox.

Ironically this hearing comes on the very day those two men face off on the ballot.

"I don't think it's coincidence. I mean, I think it shows that this is something that needs to be addressed," Harvey said.

Harvey's attorney filed a motion on election eve asking that the charges be dropped, calling it "patently ridiculous" for Thaell to have any expectation of privacy while meeting with constituents in his courthouse office.

The judge said he would consider that request December 20th.

Leon County Commissioner Cliff Thaell said he had "absolutely no comment" on Harvey's quest to have the charges dropped, saying the case will run its course in the legal system now.
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UPDATED 11.02.2010 11am by Julie Montanaro

Kathleen Harvey went before a judge Tuesday morning on charges of illegally recording a conversation with County Commissioner Cliff Thaell.

Her attorney filed a motion to dismiss those charges Monday, on the eve of the election, and today Judge James Hankinson scheduled a hearing on that motion for December 20th.

Hankinson also set Harvey's trial date for February 14th.

Harvey says she is confident the felony charges will be dropped, saying she did nothing wrong in recording her meeting with Thaell back in February 2009 and claims her arrest was nothing short of a political gag order.

Thaell, who is busy with last minute campaigning and a get out to vote rally, says he has absolutely no comment on the case now that it is working its way through the legal system.
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UPDATED 11.01.2010 by Julie Montanaro

A defense attorney has filed a seven page motion to dismiss the illegal recording charges against Kathleen Harvey.

In her motion to dismiss, Anabelle Dias contends under Florida law, Commissioner Cliff Thaell had no "expectation of privacy" in the meeting.

"It is patently ridiculous for a Leon County Commissioner, while performing his duties as a commissioner, namely meeting with constituents, in his Leon County Court House Office, to have a reasonable expectation of privacy," Dias argues in her motion.

Dias says Florida law also considers whether "society is prepared to recognize this expectation as reasonable."

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Tallahassee, Florida (Eyewitness News) --

A woman who was arrested and accused of illegally recording a conversation with Leon County Commissioner Cliff Thaell is set to go before a judge the same day that voters decide if Thaell should be re-elected to his seat.

Mary Kathleen Harvey was arrested back in September and accused of recording a conversation in Thaell's courthouse office in February 2009 without his permission. She was arrested in September 2010 shortly after giving a copy of that recording to Thaell's political rival, Nick Maddox.

Harvey's attorney, Anabelle Dias, filed a motion today asking Judge James Hankinson to dismiss the charges.

See our previous story at the link below.

More details to come.


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