By Mary Hladky
Former Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie’s trial on public corruption charges has been postponed for the fourth time, and is now set to begin on Jan. 11, 2021.
Prosecutors and Bruce Zimet, Haynie’s criminal defense lawyer, agreed to move back the trial date from Oct. 26, citing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, additional time needed to complete pre-trial discovery and the possibility that not enough potential jurors would be available.
Palm Beach County Chief Judge Krista Marx suspended all jury trials in April because of the coronavirus pandemic but issued an administrative order on Sept. 9 allowing a limited number of trials to begin after Oct. 9.
Circuit Judge Jeffrey Gillen ordered the new trial date on Sept. 11.
Haynie, 64, was arrested on April 24, 2018, on charges of official misconduct, perjury, misuse of public office and failure to disclose voting conflicts. She faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors contend that Haynie used her position on the City Council to vote on six matters that financially benefited James Batmasian, the city’s largest downtown commercial landowner, and failed to disclose income she received from him.
Haynie has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Zimet has repeatedly said she will not accept a plea deal.
Then-Gov. Rick Scott suspended Haynie from office, but she never resigned. Scott Singer won a special election to claim the position in 2018 and was re-elected in March.