Dana Santino faces judicial qualification panel to answer for campaign commercial.
Judge Dana Santino (left) and Gregg Lerman.
Dana Santino in court on Aug. 2, 2017.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Palm Beach County Judge Dana Santino took the stand herself Wednesday.
Santino is accused of blasting her opponent, Gregg Lerman, in last year’s election for county judge.
The Florida Judicial Qualification Commission asked Santino about her campaign ad that said Lerman only represents “murders, rapists, child molesters, and other criminals.”
“I sincerely apologize to you, Greg Lerman, and I sincerely apologize to the criminal defense bar,” Santino said.
Santino admitted in court that the ad was wrong. She said she did not approve the ad from her campaign manager, Richard Giorgio, and pulled it when she learned about it.
“I went against my better judgment and more than anything for people to think that that’s who I am is the worst,” a tearful Santino said.
"Your attitude sounds like you should be excused because you were tired...That's far from reality" panelist to Judge Santino. pic.twitter.com/8yQD9Uh406— Jennifer Tintner (@JenniferTintner) August 2, 2017
"Your attitude sounds like you should be excused because you were tired...That's far from reality" panelist to Judge Santino. pic.twitter.com/8yQD9Uh406
Lerman fired back against Santino outside of court, saying she should lose her job.
“I think she needs to be removed from the bench,” Lerman said.
Santino beat Lerman by 15,000 votes, according to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections.
The commission will make a recommendation to the Florida Supreme Court in 30 to 45 days. The Supreme Court will then decide Santino’s fate.
“You can’t cheat and win,” Lerman said. “You can’t win at any cost. There has to be a sanction for that.”