Former Fla. GOP leader sentenced to 18 months in prison

Jim Greer also sentenced to 1 year supervised probation

ORLANDO, Fla. - The former chair of the Republican Party of Florida was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Wednesday for theft and money laundering.

Circuit Judge Marc Lubet also sentenced Jim Greer to one year of supervised probation. Greer had faced a prison sentence of 3 1/2 to 35 years.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and a single count of money laundering last month, right before his trial was scheduled to start. His trial had threatened to expose the underbelly of Florida's dominant political party and its formerly high-spending ways.

Topics covered in pretrial depositions included allegations of prostitutes at a state GOP fundraiser in the Bahamas, the drinking habits of former Gov. Charlie Crist and intraparty strife.

Greer's attorney asked for less than 18 months in prison. The state asked for Greer to get 42 months in prison.

"We strongly argued that this convicted criminal be sentenced to a harsher prison sentence," said Attorney General Pam Bondi. "Nonetheless, the Office of Statewide Prosecution did an excellent job prosecuting this case."

Prosecutors say Greer funneled almost $200,000 to a company he had formed with his right-hand man and kept $125,000 for himself. The Republican Party of Florida says Greer has repaid $65,000.

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