Martinez accuses Democratic DA of ‘bogus’ criminal charges ahead of sheriff’s race

Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez is accusing the Democratic county attorney-elect of making “bogus” charges ahead of the Republican’s possible 2024 run for sheriff, saying his pending surrender to authorities is based on “politically motivated claims” that he will fight.

In a statement released to supporters but written for public release, he said he would make his case to Florida Gov. Ron DeSandis, a Republican who would have the power to suspend Martinez if the commissioner and retired police lieutenant face criminal prosecutions. Martinez is expected to be charged this week by the Miami-Dade District Attorney’s Office, led by the county’s top attorney-elect, Democrat Kathryn Fernandez-Ruddle.

“The investigation has been going on for five years, so the filing of these allegations unrelated to Commissioner Martinez’s time in public office appears to be politically timed when he is considered the front-runner for newly appointed Sheriff of Miami-Dade County.” Martinez’s statement said.

The statement, obtained by the Miami Herald, was dated Sunday and included the number of a media contact for Martinez.

The statement said Martinez clashed with Fernandez Rundle over how much funding the future sheriff’s office receives once revived under a new amendment to the Florida Constitution. “Whether this apparent public conflict affected the district attorney’s decision to charge is a matter that will be presented to Florida Governor Desantis,” the statement said.

The statement provides the first public details of the charges facing Martinez. It said Martinez, who has declared income from a private security firm, has been under investigation for five years for “complaints arising from his work as a consultant when he was a private individual and not an elected official.”

Martinez, a Republican and former county police lieutenant, has held the County Commission’s District 11 seat since 2016 and was vying to become the board’s next chairman as he weighed a possible run for Miami sheriff- Dade in 2024. He also held the District 11 seat between 2000 and 2012 before vacating the seat.

Martinez and his spokesman were not immediately available for comment Monday morning. A spokesman for Fernandez Rundle also was not immediately available.

The entire statement

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle asked Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez to surrender this week based on false and politically motivated charges stemming from his work in his private practice as a consultant when he was a private citizen and not an elected official. The investigation has been going on for five years, so making these allegations unrelated to Commissioner Martinez’s time in public office appears to be politically timed when he is considered a front-runner for newly-minted Miami-Dade County Sheriff.

Martinez, who served the public interest for more than four decades as a Miami-Dade police officer, has received two gold medals and one silver medal for his service, was named Miami-Dade Police Officer of the Year twice, received the Life Saving Award. He is a respected Miami-Dade Commissioner who was being considered for Commission Chairman after the November election. As an outspoken Republican on the Commission, Commissioner Martinez has publicly disagreed with the Democratic Attorney General on major issues, most recently the role and funding of the Sheriff’s Office. Whether this apparent public conflict affected the State Attorney’s charging decision is a matter that will be presented to Florida Governor Desantis.

For now, Commissioner Martinez makes it clear that he is innocent of any wrongdoing and intends to work aggressively to clear his name. He has devoted his entire adult life to serving the interests of the public. He is humbled by the show of support and trust among his constituents and the people of Miami-Dade County.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.