Friday night’s news that witnesses allegedly received $55,000 to recant their allegations against Dunbar and Baker has led to the seemingly inevitable disclosure that the lawyer who allegedly orchestrated the payments, Michael Grieco, was under criminal investigation for the incident, as of last month.
According to the Miami Herald, police reports filed in early June includes ominous statements about Grieco, a member of the Florida House of Representatives.
“Grieco’s office was the background that facilitated a cash transaction that later obstructed the integrity of an investigation,” one report said. The report also noted that evidence was still being collected and that “the final charging decision will rest with the Broward County State Attorney.” Per the Herald, however, the police reports indicate that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not believe that Grieco’s conduct amounted to criminal behavior.
A spokesperson for the Miramar police department told the Herald that she could not comment on whether Grieco remains under investigation.
Still, there’s evidence that isn’t great for Grieco. One of the police reports includes quotes from one of the witnesses, who claims to have gotten $5,000 in Grieco’s office.
“The lawyer said, you know, I’m not supposed to be in any of this type of situation . . . so whatever you guys have going on . . . you know, that’s between you guys. I’m just here for the affidavit,” the witness told police regarding Grieco. “He said that he was going to step out because he couldn’t take any part in it.” The witness then confirmed that Grieco stepped out because he knew that the payment was about to be made.
Another witness said Grieco returned to the room at one point, when “the money was like being just dumped out.”
Here’s where it gets even weirder: Although a Seattle Times story regarding the statement Grieco issued to reporters on Friday claims that he denies payments were made, the story from the Miami Herald characterizes the same statement as follows: “Grieco did not deny that a meeting had taken place in his office or that money changed hands.”
And so the case will continue. Per the Herald, Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva said he would “follow the case closely,” given the possibility that Oliva and the House of Representatives may have to eventually take action against Grieco.
Another member of the House, Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation chairman Joseph Geller, defended Grieco in comments to the Herald.
“Mike Grieco is a valued member of our delegation,” Geller said. “He does a great job in Tallahassee. I think the fact that in a very turbulent Miami-Dade political world he was re-elected unopposed says something about the way he’s viewed politically. I tend to be skeptical about wild accusations against defense lawyers as a general rule. They have a habit of making people in authority uncomfortable.”
Regardless, Grieco himself has to be feeling a little uncomfortable given the possibility that someone in authority eventually will claim that his role in the alleged payments creates either criminal jeopardy or a threat to his license to practice law.