Lawyer: Wetherington Confessed to Pastor, Police | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Lawyer: Wetherington Confessed to Pastor, Police

Well, Jason Wetherington came through. After the former GOP staffer who had boasted of an affair with Charlie Crist was arrested on charges of stealing his pastor's daughter's wedding ring, he told me his attorney would call.

And veteran Fort Lauderdale attorney John Contini, who is representing Wetherington, did just that on Friday. And what Contini, who like Wetherington is a longtime member of Thompson's church, told me was pretty surprising. He said Wetherington has fully confessed his crime to police and First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale Pastor Larry Thompson and his daughter, Jennifer Thompson Jones. 

Wetherington was staying in Thompson Jones' condo while she was away when he stole three wedding rings worth an estimated $19,000 and pawned them at a shop in Deerfield Beach.

"It's a drop-dead air-tight case for the prosecution," Contini told me. "Jason has made a full confession. The pain to the Thompson family is huge. You have to understand that they considered Jason part of their extended family. And Jason is aware of that, and he feels terrible about that."

He said the Thompsons prayed with Wetherington after he was released from jail.

"That doesn't change the fact that he essentially ripped their hearts out with what he did," Contini told me. "The Thompson family exemplifies the biblical goodness that the pastor preaches every Sunday. He wasn't home more than 12 hours before the pastor, his wife, and the victim herself, Jennifer, sat there and prayed with him, personifying the precept of truth and forgiveness. They don't talk out of both sides of their mouth."

Wetherington is charged with grand larceny, dealing in stolen property, and false verification of ownership. Contini is hoping that the confession and the forgiveness of the Thompson family might lead to some leniency in the sentence, but he said Wetherington is aware there will be a punishment for his crimes.

"He should not be given a pass just because they have forgiven him," Contini told me. "Jason made a full confession. The unadulterated truth, and it's fairly rare for a lawyer to allow his client to puke all over himself and to be sharing this with the police and with you, Bob Norman, of all people. You are someone who, armed with the facts, can eviscerate people who often deserve to be eviscerated. But this is the right thing to do, and this young man has to start doing the right thing at some point, and no time like the present."

That's when I asked him if he was ready to do the right thing in regard to his boasts about the governor. Was he ready to tell the truth, whatever that may be?

"That's the most poignant question of all," Contini said. "But if he has boasted of any relationships in the past with the governor, that is a separate issue and one that may be more challenging to address."

So we'll see where this goes. I'll leave you with one of Contini's last quotes in which he quoted Scripture:

"'And I remember your sins no more,'" he said. "And that means a lot when you've been a reprobate like I have in my past and in Jason's present. Not only has Jason been forgiven by Thompson's family but he's forgiven by God." 

-- At the Broward County School Board, when you need records, our top-rate public officials will rush the order through and, even if it's a huge and bulky request involving hundreds of copies, won't charge you a dime.

OK, that's not true at all. In fact, it's not true at most local governmental bodies, which often delay and overcharge for records in a way that seems illegal under the Sunshine Law (here's a recent Juicy example).

But it is what it did in the case of Ashbritt, the company that allegedly overcharged the school district $765,000 in a screwy post-Wilma contract. When the company (via its attorney Mike Moscowitz) asked to get copies of invoices related to the audit report, board officials, namely school construction contracts director Denis Herrmann (who has apparently put an n in the wrong place), put in a "rush" order and had the bill sent to... the School Board auditing department.

The invoice from Minuteman Press of Hollywood for $650.60 is dated August 11 and had a Post-It note on it that said, "As per Denis Herrmann, send this bill to Chief Auditor Pat Reilly."

Now why would the chief auditor be asked to pay this bill? It's not his bill.

Well, the good news is that tax dollars, in the end, weren't spent on Ashbritt's order, which amounted to one set of copies, or $325 of the bill. But it seemed a good college try and sort of gives you an idea where Herr Herrmann's head is at.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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