Spence-Jones Bribery Case Heads to Trial

Judge denies suspended Miami pol's motion to dismiss

By Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 3:50 PM EDT
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Spence-Jones Bribery Case Heads to Trial

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MIAMI - JANUARY 24: Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones attends Operation Hope For Haiti benefit at Bongos on January 24, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ted "Touche" Lucas;Michelle Spence-Jones

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The bribery case against suspended Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones will move forward after a judge rejected her attorney's motion to dismiss the case Monday.

The case against Spence-Jones, in which she's accused of taking $25,000 from a developer in return for her help in securing votes, will now head to a jury, according to the Miami Herald.

Spence-Jones' lawyer, Peter Raben, argued that the money went to her charity, Friends of MLK Trust, for a party to honor former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler, and that the embattled pol received no personal benefit from the money.

Prosecutor Richard Scruggs argued that the money never went towards the event and that the charity wasn't even formed until months after the developer, Armando Codina, paid out.

Spence-Jones, 43, was indicted in March and was suspended twice by Gov. Charlie Crist. She has pleaded guilty and has called the efforts to indict her a "witch hunt."

The trial is set to begin Jan. 5.

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