U.S. District Court Judge James Cohn on Thursday overturned a bribery conviction against former Margate commissioner David McLean.
Jurors convicted McLean of accepting an $8,000 break on his rent and $6,000 in cash while using his powers as an elected official to do favors for his landlord.
But Cohn reversed the conviction -- which could have landed McLean in prison for 20 years -- on a technicality involved the federal government's jurisdiction in the case.
"The government never proved that $10,000 in federal funds went to the CRA, directly or indirectly, within one year as required by the law," said McLean's attorney, Ed McGee. "We have to get through to the governor's office and see about getting him back on the dais."
The U.S. Attorney's Office has 30 days to file an appeal. Gov. Rick Scott's decision to restore McLean likely won't be made until the case is closed.