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State Attorney updates charges against suspended Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie

State Attorney updates charges against suspended Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie
Posted at 5:55 AM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 05:55:13-04

The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office has updated their charges against suspended Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie.

Prosecutors re-filed two official misconduct charges she is facing. The charges now say Haynie committed her alleged crimes "with corrupt intent." 

The move comes after Haynie's lawyers filed a motion to get all seven charges against her dropped, saying she was charged under a 2016 law that didn't apply to her alleged 2015 crimes. 

Investigators said Haynie benefited financially and failed to disclose her relationship with top Boca Raton developers the Batmasians, before voting on proposals that benefited them. 

Haynie pleaded not guilty to official misconduct and perjury charges earlier this year.

Reacting to the amended information, Haynie's defense attorney, Bruce Zimet of Fort Lauderdale, said "it appears that the state agreed with our motion, in that 5 of the 7 counts the state charged, had failed to state a crime in their original information. The amended information seeks to correct the failures in the original information." 

Haynie is charged with three counts of official misconduct.

In his motion, Zimet says on two of the three official misconduct counts Haynie was charged with, she was charged under the 2016 version of "official misconduct, even though prosecutors say the alleged crimes happened in 2015."

Zimet argues that "the defendant cannot be charged with a non-existent crime."

Charging Haynie under the 2016 statute does make it easier for prosecutors to hold public officials accountable for official misconduct. In the 2016 wording, prosecutors need only show Haynie "knowingly and intentionally" committed official misconduct. In 2015, the statute read it had to be "corrupt intent."

There is a status check on Haynie's case scheduled for court on July 26. Haynie will not be present at the hearing after filing a waiver of appearance.

Haynie's attorney said, "They will pursue our motion to dismiss as to the issues not addressed in the amended information ... of course, with the charges in the new amended information the issue as to whether there is any proof to support those charges remains a very open question."

Investigators also say 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.