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Judge won't dismiss suspended mayor's charges

Posted at 11:27 AM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 19:41:36-04

Tuesday afternoon, a Palm Beach County judge denied suspended Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie's request to dismiss the seven charges against her. 

Haynie signed a waiver of appearance earlier in the year, so she did not appear in court. 

In court Tuesday Haynie's attorney, Bruce Zimet, argued that the prosecution is not clear about what specifically Haynie's alleged crimes are. The judge ultimately decided the prosecution's charges had sufficient information. 

Haynie is charged with official misconduct, perjury and corrupt misuse of an official position, among other things. In her arrest report, investigators said Haynie benefited financially from her relationship with James and Marta Batmasian, top Boca Raton developers. Investigators also said she failed to disclose that relationship before voting on proposals that benefited the couple.

Bruce Zimet told the judge Tuesday that the State Attorney's Office did not give sufficient evidence when describing two of her official misconduct charges. Haynie faces three of those charges. Zimet argued that in the state's charging document against her, the state failed to allege what benefit she sought to obtain, or did obtain from the Batmasians. He also claimed the state doesn't say what official document Haynie allegedly falsified, nor do they specifically say the statements she allegedly said that led to the charges of perjury. 

Zimet told the judge he wasn't trying to get the case dismissed necessarily but was trying to make sure he had all the facts to put together a defense. We were "trying to identify exactly what the state's theory is as to what they are charging. Right now it's a hodgepodge of things out there," Zimet told WPTV. 

In court, State Attorney Brian Fernandes said their motion to dismiss lacked authority because Zimet cited no case law. He told the judge Zimet has all the information he needs, through depositions both attorneys took with investigators. Fernandes also said there were five different times Haynie lied to investigators and Zimet heard that through interviews.  After court, Zimet told reporters he felt he still didn't have all the information he needed.

In Haynie's arrest report, investigators said she failed to disclose $335,000 worth of additional income she made while serving as mayor, which is required by law.  Investigators say $83,000 of that money came from checks written by the Batmasians to Community Reliance, a property management company owned by Haynie and her husband.

Haynie's attorney says there are more motions to come in the case. Both sides will be back in court in October.