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Former Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer pleaded guilty to theft and money laundering just before jury selection in his criminal trial got under way. / Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee Democrat, via AP

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Former Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer pleaded guilty to theft and money laundering just before jury selection in his criminal trial got under way.

Jury selection was set to begin Monday, but neither Greer nor prosecutors appeared in the courtroom. The only sign of Greer's presence in the Orange County Courthouse was his wife and infant daughter.

Greer had earlier pleaded not guilty to allegations that he funneled almost $200,000 of party money into a company he had formed with his right-hand man.

Greer says party leaders were aware of the company and that his prosecution was political payback. Sentencing is March 27 and he faces up to 35 years in prison.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Former Fla. GOP chief pleads guilty before trial

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