Florida 'Don't Say Gay' Lawmaker Sentenced To Prison For Fraud (VIDEO)
Former Florida Republican state lawmaker Joe Harding, author of GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” law, was sentenced Thursday on federal felony fraud and money laundering charges after fraudulently obtaining $150,000 in COVID funds.
Harding was facing up to 35 years in prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, but after a plea deal he will serve four months.
“In court Thursday, the judge credited Harding for taking responsibility and showing remorse. However, he believed prison time was warranted as a general deterrence,” ClickOrlando reported. “In addition to the prison sentence, Harding will serve two years of supervised release.”
Harding is the author of the “Parental Rights in Education Act,” which Gov. DeSantis promoted by claiming it would only apply to grades K-3, before signing it into law. He later expanded the law’s reach to include all grades.
At the time of Harding’s indictment, The Guardianreported, “DeSantis signed the bill into law in March, sparking a chilling groundswell of similar legislation throughout the country. At least 137 bills in 36 different states have introduced educational gag order bills in 2022, according to an August report by Pen America.”
In March of last year, Harding responded to the Florida Democratic nominee for governor’s message that read: “To our LGBTQ+ students: I stand with you and I see you.”
He wrote: “To the parents of Florida: I stand with you and I see you. I’m sorry that there are people like below that want to take away your rights, sexualize your 6 year olds and lie to you.”
Watch Harding arrive for sentencing below or at this link.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.