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No charges in Sunshine Law investigation of City Council members

Archive photo of State Attorney Melissa Nelson
Archive photo of State Attorney Melissa Nelson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The State Attorney's Office said it couldn't find enough evidence to move forward with criminal charges against any Jacksonville City Council members after an investigation into potential Sunshine Law violations.

The investigation started with an accusation that council member Garrett Dennis approached council member John Crescimbeni about an upcoming vote for City Council president.

That led to investigators looking at phone records between Dennis and other council members, including Anna Brosche and Sam Newby, as well as Katrina Brown, who was still an active member of the council at the time.

READ: Findings in Sunshine Law investigation

Investigators also looked at Dennis’ calls to Brosche’s executive council assistant. They found records of hundreds of calls, which investigators said seemed to go beyond normal council business.

However, investigators said they couldn’t establish that the Sunshine Law was violated in these conversations, and they said they couldn’t prove a sunshine law violation involving the conversation between Dennis and Crescimbeni.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Brosche sent News4Jax the following statement:

Anna and Garrett are very good friends. Friends talk on the phone. They never discussed city business. There are more interesting things to talk about. "The timing of this is not coincidental. When rumors started circulating that Anna was going to run for mayor, members of Curry’s inner circle filed this complaint without any evidence of any wrongdoing. A member of his team sat in on the interviews with council members in a blatant attempt at intimidation. The findings were then released coinciding with absentee ballots being sent to voters to stir up speculation of wrongdoing despite the fact that the investigation didn’t result in charges being filed. Nelson isn’t filing charges because there is no evidence that Anna violated sunshine laws. This entire thing is just another taxpayer funded political stunt by the Curry administration. "It’s important that political games aren’t allowed to cloud the public’s trust of their elected officials. Transparency is vital to our democracy. Anna has always maintained that she has abided by sunshine laws and fully cooperated with the state attorneys office. She appreciates State Attorney Nelson doing her due diligence on this investigation.”

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Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.