Carletha Cole, a former aide to Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, has been charged with disclosing a recorded conversation held Carroll’s chief of staff and a reporter from the Florida Times-Union after she was fired. That, however, is not what is making this sensational or scandalous. Cole, as part of her defense, alleges that she caught the reactionary Republican in a rather compromising position with another female staffer.
According to Cole’s lawyer “When she entered the office, she found the Lieutenant Governor and her Travel Aide, Beatriz Ramos, in what can only be described as a compromising position.”
According to the Miami Herald:
Cole’s motion, filed in response to the state’s efforts to keep some records sealed, portrays a dysfunctional office where Carroll’s aides frequently recorded conversations and the lieutenant governor pushed for a website where fans could follow her. It also says Steve MacNamara, former chief of staff for Gov. Rick Scott, viewed Carroll as a “loose cannon,” in the words of the filing.
Cole took a polygraph test late last year with regards to her claim, and she did answer questions regarding the alleged incident and answered ‘yes’ to “Did you ever observe Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll and . . . Ramos in a sexually compromising position in the Capitol?” Timothy Robinson, an expert on polygraphs and former Chief Polygraph Examiner for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, stated that “Ms. Cole’s charts were somewhat difficult to read . . .Her charts, in my opinion, are indicative of a non-deceptive examinee (truthful). Ms. Cole passed her polygraph.”
Cole’s allegations go well beyond an isolated incident. She has stated that Ramos “jealously hoarded the Lieutenant Governor’s attention in a manner which can only be described as bizarre.” She also alleges that she was ordered to book adjoining rooms for Ramos and Carroll when the two traveled together, but that changed after Carroll’s husband went on one of the trips. Cole is also alleging that Carroll worked to stop an arson invstigation that could have implicated Ramos, and that Carroll met with FDLE investigators who were looking into a fire in Cole’s trash can. Ramos later stated that she put a cigar into the trash that she had thought was extinguished. After that, the case was closed.
According to the Herald:
Stephen Webster, Cole’s attorney, argues in the motion that the incidents are relevant to Cole’s trial.
“A juror could reasonably conclude that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation into the Defendant was tainted by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in an effort to ensure the Defendant’s arrest, prosecution, and ultimate assassination of her character in order to shield the Lieutenant Governor and her staff from legitimate inquiry into their own misdeeds,” the motion said.
Cole also claims that Governor Scott’s press shop “had specifically instructed staff members to covertly record communications within the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, as well as any and all communications with a member of the press in order to permit rebuttal of any misquotes or inaccurate attributions.” The motion notes that John Konkus, Carroll’s chief of staff, uses a recording devise disguised as a writing implement. The motion states that “Mr. Konkus regularly joked about his ability to covertly record conversations, allowing the participants of the conversation no knowledge that the recording was occurring given that Mr. Konkus’ ’smart pen’ looked like an unassuming writing implement.”
Cole’s trial has been delayed. It was set to start next week.