State attorney takes stand in Fernandez pretrial hearing

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ORLANDO, Fla.,None - State Attorney Lawson Lamar testified Monday in the bribery case of former Orange County Commissioner Mildred Fernandez. A pretrial hearing in the case is taking place just one day before her trial is set to start.

 

Fernandez says Lamar went after her for political reasons and for that reason she wants the judge to drop the charges against her.

 

Fernandez is trying to avoid facing trial. She has been charged with campaign violations, racketeering and bribery.

 

Prosecutors say Fernandez was caught on tape accepting an illegal cash contribution from an undercover agent she thought was a developer.

 

Fernandez's lawyer called Lamar to the witness stand and asked why his office didn't ask someone else to investigate allegations against her. Some of those allegations came from the campaign manager of her political opponent Bill Segal during the Orange County Mayor's race.

 

Lamar said he had no allegiance to Segal. In fact, he said, they had a falling out over ethics.

 

"I had had a disagreement with  Bill Segal over ethics reform. He had made comments publicly that my concerns, as well as now mayor Teresa Jacobs, were matters for the chattering class, and I took offense at that," Lamar said on the stand Monday.

 

If the judge doesn't drop the charges against Fernandez the trial will start with jury selection on Tuesday morning. It is expected to last two weeks.