August Hearing Set in Latvala Case

An administrative law judge Thursday scheduled an August hearing in an ethics case involving sexual-misconduct allegations against former state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.

Judge Hetal Desai issued a notice scheduling the hearing from Aug. 14 through Aug. 18. The Florida Commission on Ethics this month sent the case to the state Division of Administrative Hearings. The commission in July rejected a proposed settlement and found “probable cause” that Latvala violated ethics laws.

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The case includes allegations that Latvala sexually harassed a former Senate staff member and had an improper sexual relationship with a lobbyist. Latvala announced his resignation from the Senate in December 2017 after a special master recommended a criminal probe into his conduct.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted an investigation, but Latvala was not charged with any crimes. The ethics commission received a complaint in December 2017.

During an appearance before the commission in July, Latvala acknowledged the relationship with the lobbyist but said there was no “quid pro quo” involving the relationship and his lawmaking duties.

He disputed the allegations that he sexually harassed the former Senate staff member. The proposed settlement would have admitted “poor judgment” in the sexual relationship with the lobbyist. But the commission decided the allegations should go before an administrative law judge.

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