A former state employee filed suit against Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, accusing her of carrying on an inappropriate relationship with a female aide.
That employee, Carletha Cole, was arrested in October on charges that she illegally recorded a conversation with Carroll's chief of staff, and then gave the recording to reporters.
In a 16-page court filing, the Cole's attorney, Steven Webster, said it was the lieutenant governor's Chief of Staff John Konkus who recorded the conversation that started the controversy. Webster said there was no reasonable expectation of privacy, because Gov. Rick Scott had asked Carroll's staff to record conversations within the office.
To help prove her case, Webster said Cole had to expose a secret relationship between the lieutenant governor and a female travel aide.
"We do believe that their relationship, would suggest that, the lieutenant governor would have wanted to discredit my client because of what she knew about their relationship," Webster said.
Cole described Carroll's relationship with the travel aide as "bizarre" in the court documents. She said on one occasion she opened the door to Carroll's office and caught the two in "…what can only be described as a compromising position."
“We do believe that the time will come when details maybe necessary, further details, but as of right now, I think it’s sufficient to say that there was inappropriate behavior by our estimation,” Webster said.
Florida Democrats say the accusation hurts the Lieutenant Governor's office - and party.
"It seems the only headlines Lt Governor Carroll makes are negative. Floridians who expected Scott's administration to focus on creating jobs instead of defending themselves from alleged sex scandals have yet another reason to be disappointed with his record," a spokeswoman for the Florida Democratic Party said. "This is one more brand damaging moment that the GOP can't afford."
Sources close to the governor’s office said the defense had been threatening to release this information for months and that the document was filed only to embarrass Carroll.
"It's a simple matter of what is she going to do to get away from a five year sentence if she's convicted of this crime," Carroll's attorney Jeffrey Soud told Channel 4.
For those in Carroll's corner, such as the President of Florida Federation of Republican Women, they say it's not a partisan issue.
"The people of Clay absolutely adore her and I do not know anyone who is not respectful of her statewide, especially women, regardless of what your political affiliation is," Cindy Graves said.
Republican activist Chelsi Henry said this will not hurt the lieutenant governor.
"The lieutenant governor is a woman of integrity and honor," Henry said. "She's come out and said very frankly, no sugar-coating, that they're lies."
A spokesman for Scott’s office calls the accusations “Outrageous,” and says they don’t warrant further comment. The state attorney in the case is also remaining silent.