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Daphne Campbell's son will face Medicaid fraud retrial after August primary

@alextdaugherty

Democratic state Rep. Daphne Campbell is running for Florida Senate, and she won't need to worry about her son's Medicaid fraud trial until after her primary election. 

Gregory Campbell recently had his retrial hearing pushed back to Sept. 19, a little less than three weeks after the District 38 primary election on Aug. 30.

Gregory Campbell's defense attorney, Richard Gregg, said the trial was not moved for political reasons. Campbell had a trial hearing scheduled for June 17 but court records show the defense was granted a continuance until September.

"We were looking for new evidence and into bringing in a new additional counsel," Gregg said. "It had absolutely nothing to do with Ms. Campbell." 

Gregg argued that the actual political motivations in the case lie with Attorney General Pam Bondi's office. He claimed prosecutors are trying to make an example out of Gregory Campbell because they did not find enough evidence to charge his mother.

"Years ago when [Daphne] Campbell first got elected, [Bondi] investigated her for same type of fraud," Gregg said.

Bondi is a Republican. Campbell is a Democrat. The attorney general's office declined to comment since the case is active.

In February, an appeals court ordered a new trial for Campbell after determining that a judge did not allow the jury -- which returned a guilty verdict -- to deliberate properly. That prompted an outburst by Daphne Campbell on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives. 

Gregory Campbell was initially convicted in 2013. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and forced to pay $460,893.58 in restitution. His new trial could overturn that ruling. One of his conspirators, Percival Wignall, pleaded guilty to related fraud charges. The other alleged conspirator, Enid Salmon, remains a fugitive.

"Right now we are looking for additional witnesses who will bolster our claim of innocence," Gregg said.

Both Gregory Campbell and Daphne Campbell did not respond to requests for comment.

Daphne Campbell was investigated by Bondi's office for Medicaid fraud -- and by the IRS after business associates claimed Campbell and her husband, Hubert Campbell, swindled them. Her home healthcare business was shut down by the state after three patients died. 

District 38 is a heavily Democratic seat that includes Miami Beach and North Miami. Six Democrats will compete for their party's nomination on August 30. Longtime Sen. Gwen Margolis was originally running, but she dropped out after referring to her Democratic opponents as "three Haitians, some teacher and some lawyer." Former Miami-Dade commissioner Bruce Kaplan also dropped out after incorrectly assuming he was eligible to run as a Democrat.

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