Orlando Sentinel by Anne Martin
July 6, 2021
Evidence in the criminal case against former state lawmaker Frank Artiles will be made public after a hearing on Tuesday where attorneys representing several media organizations, including the Orlando Sentinel, argued against an effort by Artiles’ attorneys to shield much of it from disclosure.
Artiles’ attorneys argued that some records were not relevant to the state’s case against Artiles and that publicizing people’s phone numbers and email addresses would represent an intrusion of privacy and make them vulnerable to harassment.
But attorneys for the Sentinel and other media outlets countered that much of the information that Artiles’ team wanted to shield from the public would already be exempt from the state’s public records laws. Some of the evidence will be redacted, including removing medical records, bank account numbers, family text messages, email addresses and phone numbers in Artiles’ phone contacts.
The documents are to be released as soon as possible, though the exact timeline isn’t clear. Artiles is accused of paying a friend to run as an independent candidate in a competitive South Florida state Senate race.
The South Florida election was one of three key state Senate races last year — including one in Central Florida won by Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur of Sanford — in which so-called “ghost” candidates who did no campaigning appeared to run in order to siphon votes from Democrats.