UPDATE: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement submitted a 90-page report to the state attorney’s office in Tallahassee late Monday. The report details the findings of FDLE’s investigation into allegations of public corruption against former Sen.. Jack Latvala. State Attorney Jack Campbell tells the Tampa Bay Times that his office will spend the next couple of weeks reviewing the report before deciding whether further legal action is warranted.
The original story from earlier today is below..
Six months after it began looking into charges of possible public corruption by former state Sen. Jack Latvala, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement continues its investigation.
For the past month, FDLE officials suggested that a report into the allegations was pending and would be presented to the state attorney’s office in Tallahassee.
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen told the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald in a story published Monday that the length of an investigation is on a case-by-base basis.
“It is different depending on the number of interviews. Various things can impact how quickly a case moves,” FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen told the Times/Herald.
The investigation into public corruption allegations against Latvala surfaced months after Latvala was accused of sexual harassment charges. Six women anonymously told their stories to Politico in early November. They accused Latvala of touching them inappropriately or making lewd comments towards them, or both.
The allegations dominated headlines and led to two special investigations by independent counsel hired by the Senate to look into the charges. Those investigations both determined that Latvala had groped women and made insensitive comments.
They also determined that Latvala may have traded his legislative influence in exchange for sexual favors. One of the reports suggested that charges of quid pro quo for sexual favors in exchange for legislative action by Latvala be forwarded to law enforcement to investigate for possible public corruption.
Those charges were turned over to FDLE for review. In January, FDLE announced that review had turned into an official criminal investigation.
Latvala’s attorney Steve Andrews told the Times/Herald that the investigator handling the cast interviewed his client in late April.
“My client was interviewed eight weeks ago,” Andrews said in a text. “The inspector who spoke to him said Jack was the last interview, and that he would be writing the report soon thereafter.”
FDLE says one of the factors in the length of an investigation depends on the caseload being handled by investigators. The agent in charge of the Latvala case has also been assigned to looking into various aspects of the Parkland school shooting in February, while another investigator working on the matter had been promoted to another position.
FDLE has sad when the report is completed it will be turned over to the state attorney’s office in Tallahassee to determine whether charges will be pursued. FDLE has said it will not make any recommendations.
There is something seriously wrong with the law enforcement system in Florida. Who actually conducts an investigation of public corruption? Is it the FDLE? They cant seem to get out of their own way. They write a report of investigation and then somebody else decides whether to prosecute? I am amazed that any public official gets prosecuted for misconduct in Florida. There is no consensual recording allowed. Wiretaps are apparently few and far between. The system seems designed to protect officials, not root out corruption. There do not appear to be uniform standards of how investigations are done in this state and who has overall authority to bring charges. The state Attorney General seems to have no real authority to supersede a district attorney and prosecute cases anywhere in the state. No wonder misconduct is rampant here. There seems to be zero accountability.