Embattled County Attorney Newton Resigning

Broward County Attorney Jeffrey Newton, who has been at the center of controversies involving ethics reform, turned in his resignation letter today, a representative of his office confirmed moments ago.

Newton will leave his position in 90 days; I am obtaining his letter right now.

Newton raised the ire of many when he drafted proposals to challenge a key provision of the new ethics reform package in court and then wrote "glitch bills" that seemed aimed at gutting the work of the Broward County Ethics Committee, which was formed by the will of the voters.

Many believed that Commissioners Ilene Lieberman and Stacy Ritter were secretly behind much of Newton's dubious work. Lieberman has worked as a lobbyist while serving on the board, and Ritter's husband, Russell Klenet, is a lobbyist. The ethics reform proposal -- which will be up for a referendum vote by the people in November -- will ban lobbying by commissioners and their spouses, among other sweeping changes.

Before the commission's vote on the ethics package, Newton issued a memo saying the lobbying provision was unconstitutional. That led to ethics committee member Bob Wolfe calling for Newton to be fired.

Ultimately both the unconstitutionality bid and glitch ordinance were killed after public outrage. Newton denied that there was political motivation in his attempts.


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