Criminal defense attorney Gary Ostrow announced to the Pulp tonight that he is dropping out of the Broward Public Defenders race.
"I'm not a politician so I'll just leave it for the politicans to do," said Ostrow. "I can't do the backstabbing shit they do. I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I decided to run in the first place. This isn't for me at all. I just thank God I have a strong private practice and that's what I'll be doing."
Ostrow a forthcoming article in the Sun-Sentinel -- a newspaper he loathes -- helped prompt the decision. He pleaded guilty Friday in Tallahassee to a cocaine possession charge that made news early in his campaign. The case, stemming from his May 2 arrest at the Tallahassee Regional Airport, is being transferred to the Broward Drug Court. Ostrow said he intends to complete the court's drug program, which includes therapy and random drug tests and was designed by Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser, a friend of Ostrow's.
"I'm committed to doing what I got to do and I'm on schedule right now," he said.
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Upon successful completion of the program, the case will be dismissed, he said. Then all that will be left for Ostrow to hurdle is the Florida Bar.
"I hope and expect that if I do the right thing, they'll be fair with me," said the veteran defense attorney. "I'm in control of my destiny right now."
Ostrow loaned $200,000 to his campaign during his bid to unseat Howard Finkelstein. He said he never made any campaign expenditures, though he did spend some of it on personal things (Ostrow says he reimbursed the money and is square with the elections office).
Ostrow was running as a Republican. Finkelstein will square off with attorney Alex Arreaza during next Tuesday's Democratic primary.