Judge Belvin Perry to preside over judge, judicial asst. timesheet case


Belvin Perry

Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. will preside over the case of a Polk County judge and her former judicial assistant.

Authorities arrested Judge Beth Harlan earlier this month.

She is accused of allowing her judicial assistant, Alisha Rupp, to falsify timesheets.

However, Rupp denied the claim.

"I was terminated July 10 because I witnessed sexual misconduct between Judge (Susan) Flood and her bailiff, (James Bubba) Maxcy," said Rupp to a room of reporters at her lawyer's office in Palm Harbour.

Rupp also claimed she knew of the alleged sexual misconduct since late 2011, but only reported it after she had had enough.

Rupp held the news conference two weeks after the county fired her.

"Alisha went through with Judge (Beth) Harlan everything she did those days in question. [The judge said] 'Looks like your work to me. I got no problem with it,'' said Rupp's lawyer, David Linesch. "This termination is in clear retaliation for Alisha's complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace."

Officials said Perry was chosen to avoid a conflict of interest.

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