Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rep. Fullwood Pleads Guilty; Plea Deal on Fraud, Tax Charges Injects Chaos into Nov. 8 Legislature Election

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rep. Fullwood Pleads Guilty; Plea Deal on Fraud, Tax Charges Injects Chaos into Nov. 8 Legislature Election

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Patterson & Tia Mitchell

State Rep. Reggie Fullwood pleaded guilty Thursday to wire fraud and tax charges that have derailed his long political career and injected chaos into a Florida Legislature race weeks before the Nov. 8 general election.

Under a plea deal finalized late in the day, Fullwood was convicted of just two of the 14 counts he was indicted on in April. He won't be sentenced until January.

Rules of Florida's House of Representatives say a member convicted of a felony, as Fullwood was, will be suspended immediately. But House Speaker Steve Crisafulli was circumspect when asked what would happen next.

"This is a developing story, and we're standing by to understand the situation," Crisafulli said.

Harder questions may face leaders of Duval County's Democratic Party, who under state law have the task of choosing a replacement candidate for the seat Fullwood has held from House District 13 in central Jacksonville. Tracie Davis, a city compliance officer who lost to Fullwood in the August primary and ran last year for elections supervisor, has been floated as a possible choice.

Ballots listing Fullwood and Republican Mark Griffin have already been printed and shipped to service members overseas, with some even returned, said Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan.

Hogan said it's likely on Election Day that notices identifying the new candidate for voters will be posted at polling places in areas where voters mark their ballots, but he wasn't sure about other efforts.

"This is new ground for me," said Hogan, who was elected last year. "This is going to be a lot of work."

Fullwood, 41, had been scheduled to stand trial Oct. 11 in a case that centered around the three-term state lawmaker's use of money contributed to his election campaign. …

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