Redistricting Trial Day 3: Senate President Gaetz Takes The Stand

May 21, 2014

Senate President Don Gaetz takes the stand during day three of a trial over Florida's Congressional voting maps
Credit Florida Channel

Senate President Don Gaetz took the stand as a trial over Florida’s Congressional maps continues.

Gaetz says he tried to keep political consultants at arms-length as the maps were being drawn. Instead, he says lawmakers responded to the public when drawing certain districts that favor minorities like African Americans and Hispanics:

“It was certainly one of the intentions of the Senate to respond favorably to the substantial testimony we received from Latino Justice and many others, that we create an Hispanic-opportunity district in Central Florida," he said during Wednesday's testimony.

Plaintiffs argue packing minorities in one district ensures Republicans are protected in others. Some legislative staffers admit to discussing maps with Republican strategists. The trial centers on whether the legislature violated constitutional requirements against favoring political parties or other groups.