UNITED STATES NEWS

Suspended Miami city commissioner pleads not guilty to money laundering and other charges

Oct 15, 2023, 7:52 AM

MIAMI (AP) — A suspended Miami city commissioner who is accused of accepting $245,000 in exchange for voting to approve construction of a sports facility has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges, including bribery and money laundering.

Alex Diaz de la Portilla did not appear in court Friday, but his attorney, Ben Kuehne, entered the plea for him.

Diaz de la Portilla and a co-defendant, Miami attorney William Riley Jr., were arrested Sept. 14.

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Diaz de la Portilla, who is a fellow Republican, after the commissioner’s arrest. Kuehne said Friday that his client was campaigning for the Nov. 7 election to keep his seat on the commission.

“We look forward to a vindication of these charges because Alex is not guilty,” Kuehne said at the Miami-Dade criminal courthouse, according to the Miami Herald.

Kuehne requested that Diaz de la Portilla be tried separately from Riley, WPLG-TV reported.

On Friday, Riley’s attorney also entered a not guilty plea for his client, who did not appear in court. Riley is accused of being the front for the business that allegedly gave money to the Diaz de la Portilla campaign in exchange for the right to build a sports facility on land that is now a downtown city park.

Both men bonded out of jail soon after being arrested, and their next status hearing is Nov. 14. A trial date has not been set.

Diaz de la Portilla is a former state legislator and was elected to the city commission in 2019.

Investigators said Diaz de la Portilla and Riley accepted more than $15,000 for the Miami-Dade County Court judicial campaign of Diaz de la Portilla’s brother but did not report the money, as required by state law. Riley also controlled a bank account in the name of a Delaware-based corporation to launder about $245,000 in concealed political contributions made by a management services company in exchange for permission to build a sports complex, officials said.

Investigators also said Diaz de la Portilla operated and controlled two political committees used both for his brother’s campaign and for personal spending. Records showed one of the committees reported donations of about $2.3 million and the other reported more than $800,000.

Diaz de La Portilla and Riley are each charged with one count of money laundering, three counts of unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, one count of bribery and one count of criminal conspiracy.

Diaz de la Portilla is also charged with four counts of official misconduct, one count of campaign contribution in excess of legal limits and two counts of failure to report a gift. Riley is also charged with failure to disclose lobbyist expenses.

United States News

Associated Press

Weather-weary Texas battered again as powerful storm, strong winds kill 1, cause widespread damage

HOUSTON (AP) — Power outages remained widespread Wednesday in storm-weary Texas a day after another burst of severe weather flooded streets, uprooted trees and ripped off roofs. Authorities said a teenager was killed at a construction site while working on a home that collapsed. The severe weather Tuesday, which at one point left more than […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Jury in Trump’s hush money case will begin deliberations after hearing instructions from judge

NEW YORK (AP) — Jurors in Donald Trump’s hush money trial are expected to begin deliberations Wednesday after receiving instructions from the judge on the law and the factors they may consider as they strive to reach a verdict in the first criminal case against a former American president. The deliberations follow a marathon day […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Appeals court won’t halt upcoming Alabama execution

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday declined to halt the upcoming execution of an Alabama man convicted in the beating deaths of an elderly couple during a 2004 robbery. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied two separate requests for an execution stay for Jamie Ray Mills, 50. Mills is […]

9 hours ago

Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives to court during his trial for allegedly covering up ...

Associated Press

Trump prosecutor focuses on ‘cover-up’ in closing arguments while defense attacks key witness

Donald Trump engaged in “a conspiracy and a cover-up,” a prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments Tuesday in the former president's hush money trial.

9 hours ago

Associated Press

A driver with an Oregon-based medical care nonprofit is fatally shot in Ethiopia while in a convoy

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A staff member with an Oregon medical care nonprofit was killed when the team he was traveling with in a convoy was fired upon in Ethiopia, officials said Monday. Mustefa Alkisim was a Medical Teams International driver traveling in the insecure Amhara region of Ethiopia Friday when men fired at the […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

European-Japanese climate research satellite launched from California aboard SpaceX rocket

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A European-Japanese climate research satellite designed to study Earth’s temperature balance was launched into orbit from California on Tuesday. The EarthCARE satellite lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:20 p.m. The satellite was successfully deployed about 10 minutes later, […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Suspended Miami city commissioner pleads not guilty to money laundering and other charges