Oliphant contends she's the victim of a vicious conspiracy. Miriam Oliphant flashed a confident smile as she headed into the hearing, but there’s been nothing to smile about in the hearing room.
Tempers are flaring on both sides after nearly a week and a half of testimony into whether Jeb Bush was justified in suspending Oliphant from overseeing elections in the county with the largest number voters in the state.
Assistant Secretary of State Candice Crawford testified the team she assembled to look into problems after Broward’s botched 2002 primary found Oliphant lacked the skills to carry out her duties and didn’t have the management in place to help her. She cited one employee’s concerns about polls not opening on time.
Crawford says, “Miss Walker told her she said to me in no uncertain terms, you must go out immediately, get those bags delivered and get your precinct opened or the governor will remove you from office.“
An angry Oliphant then accused the assistant secretary of state of lying under oath and stacking the decks of the assessment team with people who were out to get her.
Oliphant says, “Evidence is showing that I was sabotaged, that there was a conspiracy going on by Mrs. Crawford and other members of my office.”
Testimony is likely to get nastier as Oliphant takes the stand in her own defense when the hearing concludes Wednesday.
The judge overseeing Miriam Oliphant’s two-week trial will decide whether or not to recommend Oliphant return to office. The state Senate will vote on the recommendation, but the Senate won’t take up the matter until next year.