Judge denies gag order request in Cole case

Jul 24, 2012

Leon County Circuit Judge Frank Sheffield on Tuesday denied a request by State Attorney Willie Meggs to bar attorneys in the case of Carletha Cole from talking to the media.

Sheffield has set a Sept. 25 for a status conference in a case against Cole, a former aide to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll who faces felony charges for disclosing tape recorded conversations to a Jacksonville reporter. The case has gained attention after Cole made allegations that she was fired after she walked in on Carroll and another female aide in a sexually compromising position in Carroll's office, an allegation the lieutenant governor vehemently denies.

Meggs requested the gag order after Cole's attorneys gave repeated interviews earlier this month. Cole's attorney, Steven Andrews, said the judge admonished both sides in a private meeting in his chambers, telling them to adhere to the rules of the Florida Bar. "I'm certain the state attorney felt like they weren't getting a fair shake," Andrews told reporters after the meeting.

"We felt like we weren't, but now the playing field seems to be balanced from our standpoint."