State agrees to pay $600,000 for Sansom’s corruption defense

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida will pay $600,000 to cover legal fees owed by former House Speaker Ray Sansom.

Taxpayers were initially on the hook for a more than $800,000, but Sansom’s lawyers and the Florida House reached a settlement that lowered the final amount.

Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey ruled in February that taxpayers were liable for the fees because corruption charges against Sansom were dismissed during a 2011 trial.

Florida public officials found innocent of corruption in official duties are entitled to legal fees. Lawyers for the state argued unsuccessfully that Sansom accepted a plea deal, tacitly admitting guilt.

He was accused of trying to misappropriate state money to build an airport for a supporter’s jet service.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said Tuesday he was pleased the settlement would end litigation over the fees.

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