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Sansom hires criminal defense attorney

House Speaker Ray Sansom has retained a prominent criminal defense attorney to advise him in ongoing state and federal investigations.

Former Statewide Prosecutor Peter Antonacci said Friday that he was retained by Sansom about two weeks ago, but won’t say what advice he has given his new client.

Antonacci said he has contacted State Attorney Willie Meggs and Acting U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirwin to let them know he is representing Sansom. He wouldn’t say what other conversations he had with the two prosecutors who are taking a look at Sansom and the $110,000 a year job he accepted at Northwest Florida State College last year after helping the college get an extra $35-million in construction funds. Sansom is resigning the job Jan. 31.

Antonacci once worked for Meggs, handling public corruption prosecutions. In recent years he has become the go to guy for Republicans in trouble. In 2002 then Gov. Jeb Bush called on Antonacci to represent his daughter Noelle on charges that she forged a prescription for Xanax.

Antonacci is currently a senior attorney in the Tallahassee office of Gray-Robinson, one of Florida’s best known law firms.

-- Lucy Morgan