A Palm Beach County circuit judge on Tuesday tossed the least punitive of four charges against suspended Boynton Beach Mayor Jose Rodriguez.
Circuit Judge Charles Burton, after hearing and considering defense requests to toss all the charges against Rodriguez, agreed to throw out a charge of resist or obstruct or oppose a law enforcement officer, a second-degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum 60-day jail sentence.
Rodriguez, 50, who has declared his innocence and remains free on $8,000 bail, was removed from office Jan. 27 by Gov. Rick Scott. That was a day after the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office accused the mayor of using his official power in an effort to block a police investigation into child abuse accusations from his estranged wife. The allegations later were determined to be unfounded.
Burton declined to dismiss several other charges, including: accepting unlawful compensation for official behavior, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison; and solicitation to commit unlawful disclosure of a confidential criminal information and corrupt misuse of official position, both first-degree misdemeanors punishable by a year in jail.
Rodriguez's public corruption trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 25.
Jason Weiss, Rodriguez's attorney who argued the motions in court on Friday, could not be reached for comment late Tuesday despite a call to his office and an e-mail.
According to court records, Rodriguez is accused of pressuring police Chief Matthew Immler and Interim City Manager Lori LaVerriere to derail the police investigation, which began in August 2011.
In a sworn statement, Immler said that a screaming Rodriguez called him Nov. 17 and tried to intimidate him into stopping his officers from further contacting Rodriguez's wife, Sarah Marquez.
LaVerriere also told investigators that Rodriguez repeatedly pushed her to question police about their investigation of him, but she refused. LaVerriere said Rodriguez told her he would "protect" her if she did the same for him, which she understood to mean that Rodriguez would support her for the permanent city manager job.