[UPDATE] Trial Approaches For Former House Speaker Ray Sansom

[UPDATE] 3-17 2:23pm -- TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) --

Former Florida House speaker Ray Sansom's is set to go on trial on corruption charges.

The expected two-week trial will hang on competing versions of
Sansom's intent. Prosecutors say the Destin Republican illegally
appropriated $6 million in state funds in a failed attempt to build
an airplane hangar for his co-defendant. The defense says the
building was going to be an emergency operations center for the
city of Destin.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Friday. The key evidence
is expected to include testimony from the Northwest Florida State
College's former president and e-mails between college officials
and architects, lawyers and others.

Sansom and co-defendant Jay Odom face up to 30 years in prison
if convicted. Their attorneys declined comment.

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3.1.2011 by Julie Montanaro

Former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom is set to go to trial on grand theft, conspiracy and official misconduct charges March 21st.

Court records show this morning his attorneys once again requested that those charges be dropped. Judge Terry Lewis denied Sansom's request to dismiss the grand theft and conspiracy charges, court records show, but is taking a decision on the official misconduct charge under advisement.

Sansom along with former Northwest Florida State College President Bob Richburg and developer Jay Odom will be tried together for their role in securing $6 million in state funding for an airport hangar at the Destin Airport.

Defense attorneys for the men have also filed a request to individually question jurors about any media reports they've seen or heard about the case. In that motion, attorneys say they intend to seek a change of venue too.


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