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Crist seeks grand jury probe of public corruption

Citing a recent "rash of crimes" in South Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday announced he was petitioning the state Supreme Court to empanel a statewide grand jury to take a broad look at the extent of corruption in government. The surprise announcement follows recent indictments of two elected officials and a well-connected Republican Party donor in Broward County.

"It's obvious to me that something's wrong with the system," Crist said, noting that he has removed about 30 people from office since he became governor. "That's about one a month."

Crist was flanked by FDLE Commissioner Jerry Bailey and Statewide Prosecutor Bill Shepherd at a midday news conference in the state Capitol. His announcement follows recent indictments of Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, Broward School Board member Beverly Gallagher, and Alan Mendelsohn, a prominent Hollywood eye surgeon -- all on charges relating to alleged political corruption. 

Crist, a Republican, is running for Florida's open U.S. Senate seat in 2010. A copy of his petition to the  Supreme Court is here

-- Steve Bousquet