Politics

GOP Staffer Questioned About Districts He Drew

By: Brandon Larrabee News Service of Florida | Posted: May 25, 2014 5:25 PM
Redistricting

An employee of the state Republican Party who drew congressional districts that appear to have been submitted to the Legislature under someone else's name took the stand in a redistricting trial Friday, as lawyers continued to battle over access to documents generated by political consultants.

Frank Terraferma, who became director of state House campaigns for the Republican Party of Florida in January 2011, began testifying late Friday as the trial's first week came to a close. Voting-rights organizations and some individual voters have challenged the state's congressional maps, saying they violate the anti-gerrymandering Fair District amendments approved by voters in 2010.

Under questioning from David King, a lawyer representing the map's opponents, Terraferma conceded that maps submitted to the Legislature under the name of Alex Posada contained districts that looked nearly identical to districts Terraferma had drawn on his computer.

Terraferma did not send maps to lawmakers through the public system that the House and Senate's redistricting committees used to gather ideas.

"But you were willing to put your work product before the Legislature under somebody else's name," King said.

"I'm not aware that it was done until potentially right now," Terraferma said a moment later.

"Sitting here today in this courtroom, this is the first time you've ever realized that your work product was contained in public maps 132 and 133?" King asked.

"Yes," Terraferma replied.

Terraferma testified earlier Friday that he drew maps that might have looked outside the scope of his job running state House campaigns for a variety of reasons, including whether new congressional and Senate districts could set off chain reactions that might open up House seats.

"The other thing is, candidly, it's fun, to be honest with you," Terraferma said. "And I enjoy doing it."

Lawyers for the map's critics have worked all week to try to outline conversations between political operatives in Tallahassee and legislative staff, apparently with the goal of showing that outside consultants improperly influenced the map-making process. Under the Fair District standards, lawmakers are barred from drawing lines meant to help or harm political parties or candidates.

Outside the courtroom of Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, attorneys for the voting-rights organizations asked the Florida Supreme Court to consider an emergency appeal of an order that would bar them from using hundreds of pages of documents produced by political consultant Pat Bainter and his Gainesville-based consulting firm, Data Targeting Inc.

On Thursday, the 1st District Court of Appeal issued an order that would keep secret 538 pages of documents.

Bainter and his firm say divulging the documents could reveal trade secrets and endanger his firm's First Amendment rights; Lewis had ruled the documents should be turned over to the plaintiffs and would become public records if they were entered into evidence.

In their filing with the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs said the documents were of "crucial relevance" to their case. Attorneys plan to call Bainter and some other consultants to the stand to discuss their involvement in the redistricting process.

"The trial is scheduled to last only until Tuesday, June 3, 2014; the trial judge is rotating to the criminal division, and with each passing day, the plaintiffs will soon lose the chances of resolving this litigation in time for the districts to be redrawn, without gerrymandering, for the 2014 election," the filing said.


Tags: News, Politics

Comments (4)

Frank
12:36PM MAY 28TH 2014
Gee, looks like the Florida Supreme Court is going to allow the evidence contained in those "secret 538 pages of documents" after all . . . . is this where we start to sing that old Monday night football song of "Turn out the Lights, the Party's Over" . . . . . GOP gerrymandering . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
jose can you see
3:57PM MAY 26TH 2014
No wonder they hired Raoul Cantero III the grandson of former Cuban Dictator Fulgenio Batista and former Fl Supreme Ct "Just us" anointed by Jeb Bush in 2002 and then he retired to go by to North Cuba (Miami).

they've got a lot to cover up, but they've got all the kings and aces in the right holes to do it.

Don't you just love this insider consultant that the RPOF paid over $6.2 in fees to consult on the redistricting. Then when the fit hit the shan they are furnishing his high dollar lawyers to defend his actions and running this fake trial through all the phases to protect his "trade secrets."

First if he was not involved in helping to draw these maps what was he involved with that cost that kind of money? then, if he was involved involved in redrawing the maps it's that what this lawsuit is all about - getting to the bottom of this suspected gerrymandering?

so if this Pat Bainter guy is guilty of violating the law regarding redistricting that the voters voted into law. How can he claim he arrived at the scene with the fruit of the crime in hand, but that fruit of the crime is a "trade secret?"

I mean we all know these consultants are the best criminals money can buy, but what if this "trade secret" defense gets out of hand and common criminals and bank robbers start using it and getting away it it. We will have like this huge "no probable cause" or "not guilty" move through out the criminal criminal justice system.

I mean everything starts somewhere!

Maybe common thieves, burglars and such should copyright their techniques and call them trade secrets as well.

Stand by these organized criminals come up with a new defense every day.
Frank
10:18AM MAY 26TH 2014
Ahhh, Ahhh . . . . my dog must have emailed my "just for fun" maps off of my computer to some friendly FSU Student (or someone else I was exchanging emails with) . . . . . only explanation possible . . . . . . . . my dog did it . . .

Pathetic . . . .
William
4:31PM MAY 25TH 2014
His name is TERRAFERMA, and he drew MAPS for proposed districts? Is this like, a script for a TV movie? The only thing that could make it better is if his first name was Vinnie instead of Frank.

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