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Homestead mayor heads to trial in corruption case

By @DavidOvalle305 and Melhor Leonor

One year after his arrest plunged Homestead into turmoil — and capped a string of headlines about South Florida politicians getting busted for corruption — suspended Mayor Steven Bateman heads to trial Monday insisting he did nothing wrong.

The allegation: that Bateman took a secret and illegal $125-an-hour consulting job with a healthcare company while using his mayoral position to help grease the wheels of government to complete construction of the chain’s new clinic.

His defense: Bateman’s gig as a Community Heath of South Florida “consultant” was perfectly legit and, yes, completely separate and distinct from his duties as mayor.

“I had to wear two hats,” Bateman said Friday. “I think I did a good job separating the hats, and we’ll prove that.”

Bateman, 59, is charged with two felony counts of unlawful compensation, plus three misdemeanors relating to violations of the county’s ethics code.

Jury selection begins Monday before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Robert Luck.

More here.