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'Witness-tampering' probe over Jim Greer's gay, drunken 'escapes' claim against Charlie Crist break new ground in Florida tawdry

From the start, it was clear that the criminal case against former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer would expose some dirty laundry at the GOP.

Now it’s getting so dirty it’s downright whacky.

Greer’s lawyer was prepared to claim that, when he was governor, Charlie Crist made a pass at the former chairman at a Beverly Hills hotel, that he paid two former male lovers to leave the state, and that the governor’s guards covered up numerous drunken “escapades” — including the time the gov allegedly nearly ran over golfers while he drove a golf cart under the influence.

Crist — an abstemious drinker who has fought rumors about his sexuality since and before his 2008 marriage to Carole Oumano — has called the allegations “delusional lies.” Crist reported the matter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as evidence of “witness tampering” by Greer for allegedly trying to unlawfully pressure the former governor to change his testimony in the fraud case.

The claims from Greer lawyer Damon Chase arose only after the governor refused to recant his previous written testimony in which Crist said he had no idea that his party chairman in 2009 had taken over RPOF fundraising responsibilities for a cut of the profits. Chase wanted Crist to issue a new sworn affidavit that claimed he and party leaders knew about Greer’s secret fundraising arrangement, which is at the heart of the state’s criminal case against Greer.

Crist refused to file the flip-flop of an affidavit. Chase then moved to depose the former governor to ask him about his drinking habits and his sexuality.

“Jim is desperate and using you as a way to extort Charlie with embarrassing questions. Like ‘when was the last time you [expletive] your neighbor’s sheep’ or ‘are you still beating your wife,’” Crist’s boss and attorney, Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan, wrote in a May 14 email to Chase.

Chase responded: “Charlie clearly lied and now one by one his closest friends are coming out against him because what he did to Greer was just wrong. In the event Charlie remains unwilling to clarify his affidavit, I’m left with no other choice than to discredit him. I don’t find that type of practice particularly tasteful, but sometimes I suppose it’s necessary.’’

Chase pointed out that other Republican insiders said in depositions and affidavits that Crist knew of Greer’s fundraising deal or aspects of it.

True or not, the image of a hammered governor almost plowing into golfers is a scream. And the idea that he got all sloppy drunk and tried to smooch Greer at a hotel is profoundly unsettling.

Crist “would have to be a sick son of a bitch to try to kiss Porky the Pig,” Morgan told an FDLE case agent, who noted the statement was “in reference to Greer.”

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