Was a crime committed when a redistricting map was filed using the allegedly stolen identity of an individual?
That's the question left unanswered by Alex Posada, the former Florida State University student who testified under oath last week in the redistricting trial that his name was used to submit a congressional redistricting map without his permission. The map using his name became the foundation of several key portions of the final congressional map approved by legislators.
A group of voters is challenging the constitutionality of the 2012 congressional maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature. But when it comes to the authorities in charge, none of them -- all Republicans -- is calling for a separate criminal investigation into identity theft or the prospect that someone lied.
"We are not going to comment during the ongoing trial. We are in the middle of litigation and are letting the process continue,'' said Ryan Duffy, spokesman for House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.
"As this is ongoing litigation, which our office is not involved in, it would not be appropriate to comment at this time,'' said Jenn Meale, spokeswoman for Attorney General Pam Bondi.
“This matter is in the hands of the judiciary,’’ said John Tupps, spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott.
And Raoul Cantero, the former Florida Supreme Court justice who is representing the Senate in the trial said this:
“The Legislature’s duty is to draw districts in compliance with the Florida Constitution and federal law. The name associated with a particular public map is irrelevant; what is relevant is whether that map provides helpful ideas in drawing constitutionally compliant maps.”
Added Katie Betta, spokeswoman for Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville: "Additionally, I would point out that we have no indication that a rule or provision of law was violated. If a law was violated, the State Attorney’s Office would certainly be better able to launch such an investigation."
We asked Willie Meggs, state attorney for the Second District in Leon County, to respond. He noted that if identity theft occurred, a law was violated, but he needs law enforcement to investigate it first.
"It should be something for the FBI to investigate or FDLE to investigate,'' he said. "We'd be happy to prosecute if there's an investigation but it's got to be FDLE or the FBI -- and will they investigate? Lord only knows."
Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for FDLE, said no one has called for an investigation.