State's Star Witness Against Spence-Jones Says He Felt Used

Published On: Dec 14 2011 01:19:33 PM EST
Updated On: Mar 09 2011 08:38:59 AM EST
MIAMI -

The state's star witness in the bribery case against former Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones turned the tables on the prosecution Tuesday, denying he paid Spence-Jones a bribe and accusing the state of falsely using him to indict her.

?He purposely misled me,? said Armando Codina of Assistant State Attorney Richard Scruggs in the courthouse hallway after he testified.

Codina referred to a meeting at the State Attorney's office last year, when Scruggs led him to believe a donation Spence-Jones had solicited in 2006 was for a charity that did not exist.

?Scruggs told me Michelle Spence Jones had used my contribution as piggy bank,? Codina told jurors. ?I thought I'd made a legitimate contribution. Mr. Scruggs he told us in no uncertain terms that it was a sham.?

Codina since became aware that the charity, Friends of Martin Luther King, Jr. Trust is an organization registered with the venerable Dade Community Foundation, and the events described by Spence-Jones had indeed taken place.

The solicitation came as Codina and his company were lobbying the Miami City Commission for a vote to extend the name Brickell Avenue to the street in front of the project.

Though the vote was eventually canceled when city commissioners learned they did not have jurisdiction, prosecutors insist Spence-Jones? charity request amounts to requesting a bribe for her vote.

Spence-Jones is on trial for bribery and grand theft.

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