Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer
Orlando, Florida -- He once led the Republican Party of Florida, now he is a five-time convicted felon.
Jim Greer was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday for stealing $65,000 from the Republican Party when he was Chairman.
While the prosecution had asked for the minimum mandatory 42 months, Judge Marc Lubet said because Greer's unindicted co-conspirator Delmar Johnson did the same thing Greer was charged with, it wouldn't be fair.
Johnson, who was the deputy director of the party, went to prosecutors with the evidence to convict Greer. Because Johnson is walking away without being punished at all, the judge departed from the minimum mandatory sentence.
Lubet told Greer he had had "men and woman who have stolen a lot more than you have before me and at the government's request, they have received probationary sentences." However, Lubet then said, "I'm not going to give you a probationary sentence, and I believe this crime deserves prison."
With that, Greer was sentenced to 18 months and led off in handcuffs to begin his sentence. After the sentencing, Greer's attorney Damon Chase continued to contend Greer could have beaten the charges.
Chase says, "If we had gone to trial, we would have destroyed them [the prosecution]. If you would have looked at the sworn testimony in the affidavit transcripts, we proved every single one of his accusers wrong and to be lying."
And just like Chase told the judge, after the trial he said former Governor Charlie Crist was the biggest liar. Chase says three of Crist's closest friends testified the former governor knew what Greer was doing and directed him to do it.
According to Chase, "Charlie Crist sacrificed Jim Greer on the altar of his own political ambition, which is outrageous."
Prosecutor Mike Williams is saying what Greer did was what was outrageous, and the sentence was fair. "We're very happy. We thought the case deserves incarceration, the judge gave it to us."
The big question is why Greer pleaded guilty if his attorney thought they could beat the charges.
Chase says, "The way that he was set up, if he had lost, he would have gotten 65 years in prison and died. You can never predict what a court is going to do and a jury is going to do."
Greer told us he did not receive a personal payoff to take the plea deal. However, friends have helped out in paying some legal fees and the $65,000 restitution he paid to the Republican Party of Florida.
While Greer was sentenced to 18 months, he will serve only 15 and then when he is released, he will publish the book he is writing that he says will reveal much of what was supposed to come out at the trial. He says many people in the Republican Party of Florida should be frightened at what the book says.
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