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Michelle Spence-Jones Trial Begins Today

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Michelle Spence-Jones gets her day in court.
The Michelle Spence-Jones public corruption saga is entering its final act. Her trial on grand theft and bribery charges begins today.

Since her initial arrest in November 2009, days following her reelection to the Miami City Commission, Spence-Jones has maintained she will be exonerated. By the end of the week, we'll find out if a jury believes state prosecutors' claims that Spence-Jones that she shook down a prominent developer for $12,500.

Whatever the conclusion, her case represents a cautionary tale about Miami politics: Never trust anyone, even those who call themselves your mentor.

Assistant State Attorney Richard Scruggs relied on the testimony of Barbara Carey-Shuler, a former county commissioner who mentored Spence-Jones, to build a case against the suspended Miami elected official. Under oath, Carey-Shuler informed the prosecutor that her signature was forged on letters authorizing a company controlled by Spence-Jones and her family to receive the grants. Months later, Carey-Shuler recanted part of her testimony while being deposed by Spence-Jones' attorneys.

Carey-Shuler, it should be noted, escaped prosecution on unrelated public corruption charges when a former ally, Antonio Junior, ratted her out. He claimed to have delivered kickbacks to Carey-Shuler in the 1990s, but the information was worthless because the statute of limitations had run out. So credibility is not her strongest suit. We'll see if jurors buy Carey-Shuler's performance on the stand.

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20 comments
MDIAZ
MDIAZ

PLEASE SOMEBODY.....TELL IF THIS TRUE!!!I READ IN THE STRAW BUYER THAT RICHARD SCRUGGS, THE STATE ATTORNEY PROSECUTING MICHELLE SPENCE-JONES IS A WANTED MAN IN COSTA RICA.IS THIS TRUE?IF SO, HE SHOULD BE EXTRADITED TO COSTA RICA TO FACE JUSTICE.WHAT IS A WANTED MAN DOING IN THE SAO? SHAME!!!!!

Fifi
Fifi

If the prosecutor relied on testimony of a questionable person, Carey-Schuler, who later recanted then there is no case for the prosecution. It amounts to hearsay.

Vector1
Vector1

Why is the heading Banana Republican? Michelle Spence-Jones is no more a Republican than I am the Pope.

Whitey
Whitey

Oh wow..I just realized that she was a colored. Definitely Guilty!

Other crimes
Other crimes

Michelle Spence-Jones was shaking down people for years. "Pay to play" was created for her. Her mentors taught her all the tricks to getting rich as an elected official.

jmhpro
jmhpro

You seem to forget that Carey-Schuler recanted her testimony because she was shown a copy of the letter with her own handwritten notes. Evidence and facts. Michelle is the victim of a witch hunt. As my daughter says, watch and learn.

CleanUpMiami
CleanUpMiami

Well yeah, don't trust anyone if you're involved in criminal activities and don't want to be outed. Screw her!

P_Nis
P_Nis

Let's not forget that Carey-Schuler should have been indicted along with her pal Oscar Rivero but somehow wasn't...

Non-discriminating
Non-discriminating

Seriously! I'm not for or against the woman, nor colored, but your coment is just plain stupid.

Tonyahilton
Tonyahilton

I know her personally (we were friends). This is not the first person or situation she has stolen from.

jmhpro
jmhpro

That is just nonsense. You know nothing of the sort. Just another angry ignorant person.

Divinempa
Divinempa

I am an African-American female, BORN in Miami and can unequivocally tell you that Michelle is NOT a victim, she is guilty. My personal experience with her is my proof. I'm grateful to have followed my instincts and refused to redirect my clients funding and focus, despite her attempt to strong arm them.

jmhpro
jmhpro

Ever hear of innocent until proven guilty? Do you actually think the prosecutors are always right? Ever hear of innocent people being put away? I know Michelle personally and I don't live in Miami. They came after right after she took office. They couldn't find anything so they made it up. There has already been a recanting of the testimony by Barbara Carey -Schuler, not because she just remembered something, but because a copy of the letter that Michelle supposedly forged was found with her handwritten notes all over it. It is called evidence and it proves that Michelle did not forge the letter. Watch and learn as you will see the Michelle is not the guilty party here, it is the prosecution.

jmhpro
jmhpro

I too know her personally for many years. She has more integrity in her little finger than someone who would slander her in an anonymous comment.

Divinempa
Divinempa

@Tonya-I not only KNOW her, but my client would have been a victim of her tactics in 2006. She attempted to shake the non-profit down and strong-arm them into re-directing funding through her preferred charity. I said NO to her face and she attempted to black ball the non-profit.

jmhpro
jmhpro

By the way what does your being an African American have to do with it? I am a college educated white woman born in CT, does that somehow give me more or less credibility?

jmhpro
jmhpro

Your personal experience, which I don't believe, is irrevelant. She is not accused of having anything to do with you. What is your name? You are slandering Michelle and you should say who you are if you have any ethics.

Divinempa
Divinempa

WRONG, yet again. There was plenty there, but there was such widespread corruption, that unmasking hers, wasn't a priority at the time. True friends do NOT co-sign messiness or criminality. They are loyal but TRUTHFUL.

jmhpro
jmhpro

You and Tonya seem to maybe be a tad vindictive? Michelle is an amazingly capable, honest and strong individual. She would never do what you and Tonya are doing. She doesn't steal and would never anonymously attack anyone. She has a strong faith and code of ethics. If you don't think innocent people get prosecuted you are naive and that is the nicest thing I am going to say.

Janet Harrison (my real name)

jmhpro
jmhpro

You are not even making sense. How do you know anything? Carey Schuler didn't remember signing the letter. That has nothing to do with Michelle. The letter was found in files in the county clerks office. There was nothing criminal about receiving a grant from the city to fix up a crack house. Get some facts before you open your mouth.

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