Day Seven in Florida's precedent-setting redistricting trial may look like a sleeper for the few that are watching the soporific play-by-play on The Florida Channel but for the cognoscenti, the plot keeps getting thicker.
At stake is the 2012 congressional maps drawn by the Republican-led legislature and being challenged by a group of voters, led by the League of Women Voters and a group of Democrat-leaning plaintiffs. The court awaits the arrival of the secret documents from political operative Pat Bainter, unless the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in. Here are some developments from Wednesday:
Plot line #1: What did the presiding officers know?
Dean Cannon, the former House speaker during the 2012 redistricting session, testified under oath that he didn't know that his redistricting director was meeting with Washington redistricting attorney Ben Ginsberg, GOP political operatives Rich Heffley, Marc Reichelderfer and members of the House and Senate staff at Republican Party of Florida headquarters in December 2010 to discuss redistricting. But, had he been told, he said, he would have been "comfortable" with it.
“It was a good idea for anyone who had been involved or had been involved to get together with staff and legal counsel to figure out the rules of the road,’’ he said.
Reichelderfer testified last week that he attended the meeting to see if political consultants would "have a seat at the table" and current House Speaker Will Weatherford, who was then House redistricting chairman, testified they were told they wouldn't.
Plaintiffs allege that Republican political consultants conspired with GOP staff to conduct a "shadow" redistricting process that used operatives to draw maps and have them submitted by members of the public. They claim that those maps then became the foundation of the legislature's final redistricting maps.