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Fla. Prosecutor Agrees to Step Down for Using Crime Databases to Spy on Political Opponent, Others

Posted Aug 24, 2012 3:15 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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A Florida prosecutor has dropped his bid for re-election to avoid being prosecuted on charges that he used law enforcement databases to spy on political rivals and others.

Robert "Skip" Jarvis, the elected state attorney for eight Central Florida counties, has agreed to leave office at the end of his term next January in exchange for the dropping of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation of him, the Miami Herald reports.

Jarvis was accused earlier this year by a former assistant of improperly using restricted state and federal databases intended solely for law enforcement purposes to investigate the former assistant's wife.

The investigation revealed that Jarvis had conducted such a search, along with several other apparently improper searches, including one of former assistant state attorney Jeffrey Siegmeister, his former GOP opponent in the upcoming election, and Siegmeister's wife.

Jarvis told investigators he had checked the records on Siegmeister and his wife to determine where they live but offered no explanation of why he needed to know that. Investigators said the search went beyond such basic information.

Jarvis also admitted checking the records on his former assistant's wife but said he done so because he had seen her carrying a firearm at a blueberry festival in June. Investigators said the woman is a member of the sheriff's posse and was on duty at the time, but had no firearm.

Jarvis could not be reached for comment. But in a written statement to the Suwannee Democrat, he called the investigation "purely politically motivated," and said it was proving to be too much of a distraction from his re-election campaign.

"It is their threat of taking my retirement, something I had trusted would take care of my wife after I am gone, that is my greatest fear," he said.

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