Former Miami Congressman David Rivera wants a judge who once suggested in court that he act like a man removed from a federal lawsuit alleging that Rivera secretly funded a straw candidate to run against his Democratic nemesis five years ago.
Roy Kahn, an attorney representing Rivera in the case brought this summer by the Federal Election Commission, filed an affidavit Thursday arguing that U.S. District Judge Robert Scola proved himself biased against Rivera when he subtly questioned the ex-congressman's manhood during a 2014 sentencing hearing for Rivera's former girlfriend and alleged accomplice, Ana Sol Alliegro.
According to court and campaign finance documents, Rivera and Alliegro covertly steered at least $69,000 into the campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad, at the time running against Rivera foe Joe Garcia in the Democratic primary for the U.S. District 26 seat. Rivera and Alliegro hoped that bankrolling Sternad's otherwise feckless campaign would hurt Garcia ahead of his eventual general election fight with Rivera, who ultimately lost.
Sternad and Alliegro would go on to plead guilty after the Miami Herald revealed the scheme, which ran afoul of federal campaign laws. Rivera was never charged and has always denied any wrongdoing. Rivera, who is currently a 2018 candidate for Florida House District 105, now faces an FEC lawsuit that seeks to impose nearly a half-million dollars in penalties against him for campaign finance violations.
“Some people would call it chivalry, some people call it sexism — that the man should come forward and not let the woman do time on his behalf,” Scola said in 2014 before sentencing Alliegro to a one-year sentence split between six months she had already spent in jail and six months of house arrest.
Kahn said he doubts Scola, who also famously forced federal prosecutors to out Rivera as a target while overseeing Alliegro's case, will preside over the case "with an objective and open mind."