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DeSantis voter fraud case ends with 'no contest plea' and no punishment

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, where he announced that the state's new Office of Election Crimes and Security is in the process of arresting 20 individuals across the state for voter fraud.
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, where he announced that the state's new Office of Election Crimes and Security is in the process of arresting 20 individuals across the state for voter fraud.

One of the 20 people arrested by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new election security force accepted a plea deal on Monday that allows her to avoid any punishment.

Tampa resident Romona Oliver, 56, pleaded no contest to a felony charge of voting during the 2020 election while ineligible. In exchange, statewide prosecutors dropped another felony charge of “false swearing” when she registered to vote.

Oliver was sentenced to credit for time served; she spent a few hours in the Hillsborough County jail on Aug. 18, the same day that DeSantis held a news conference announcing the first arrests for his new Office of Election Crimes and Security.

Oliver did not receive probation, was not assigned to community service and did not have to pay the typically mandatory court fees such as the cost of prosecution or the cost of the investigation, said her Tampa attorney, Mark Rankin. Pleading “no contest” is not the same as pleading guilty, and Rankin maintains Oliver didn’t do anything wrong.

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

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Lawrence Mower