JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Judge Marcia Morales Howard denied a motion Monday from state Rep. Reggie Fullwood to dismiss the wire fraud charges against him.
Fullwood’s defense lawyer challenged the government’s assertion that those who contributed to Fullwood’s re-election campaign were defrauded when Fullwood diverted some of those funds for his own personal use.
The defense argued that while wrongful under state law, the diversion does not threaten the contributors’ property interest, and so they are not victims of fraud.
In Florida’s election code, once funds are given to a candidate, the contributor loses any property interest and thus any control of those funds.
The defense said Fullwood has complete discretion over the use of the funds. The defense noted that the government has changed its position on the allegations against Fullwood several times, and has made the case “a moving target.”
But Morales Howard ruled that it was not what Fullwood did with the money but how he obtained it that might be illegal. She said there is an argument that the money was fraudulently solicited, so the argument to dismiss the charges could not be supported.
Fullwood faces wire and tax-related charges. His trial will begin Oct. 11. The court said additional jurors will be called because Fullwood is well known.
Fullwood, D-Jacksonville, is seeking his fourth term representing House District 13. He won a six-person Democratic primary on Aug. 30 and will now face Republican Christian Whitfield in the November general election.
"We still have about a month (before the election), and we're still looking forward to it, and I am not guilty and look forward to going to trial and to prove my innocence," Fullwood said after Monday's hearing.
Copyright 2016 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.