Posted July 27, 2018 06:25:09 A Florida appeals court ruled Friday that a county recorder can’t be sued over her decision to use a video tape of a Republican primary debate in March to prosecute former Florida governor and current Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush for election corruption.
In the lawsuit, the Florida Supreme Court sided with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which said that the tape of the debate violated election laws.
The Florida appeals panel of justices ruled 4-3, saying the video recording was protected under Florida’s public records law.
“A videotape of a public meeting may be privileged if the tape itself is recorded,” said the court opinion.
The case is pending in state Supreme Court.
The court ruled that the law protects “public meeting materials, and does not require the recording of all the material.”
The appeals panel, in a dissenting opinion, said the law did not “protect the recording” of all information.
It said the recording was not public.
The state Supreme Judicial Court also ruled in favor of the Florida election board, which is considering the appeal.
The appellate court ruled the recording violated the Florida Elections Code, which states, “The recording of any public meeting or other public meeting by the public may be made only by authorized persons.”
In February, the state Supreme Judge in charge of election matters ruled that Bush should not be charged with felony election fraud for using the tape.
The trial court found that Bush had not been prosecuted under the law, and a judge in the appeals panel said the tape did not contain the information that would have compelled the prosecution.
But in March, the court agreed with the prosecutor that Bush was being prosecuted under Florida law for election violations.
The appeals court said in its ruling that Bush’s use of the tape was in violation of election law because it was in the public domain, and because it could have been made public.
Bush, a former governor, ran for president in 2016, winning the GOP nomination by more than 50 percentage points.