MIAMI – A disgraced former South Florida lawmaker has pleaded guilty to perjury as part of a plea deal that will keep her from serving any prison time.
The Miami-Dade County state attorney's office said Wednesday that former state Rep. Daisy Baez pleaded guilty to the criminal charge.
Prosecutors said Baez changed her voter registration address from 11 Malaga Ave. in Coral Gables to a condominium at 2401 Anderson Road in order to prove her residency in the legislative district for which she sought office. State law requires candidates to live within the districts they represent.
However, the owners of the Anderson Road condo told prosecutors that Baez asked if she could list their address as her residence because she was seeking state office.
Maritza Jacobson and her husband, Dr. Robert Jacobson, drafted a one-year lease agreement for Baez to stay at the condo for $700 per month.
However, Baez never moved into, or stayed, at the condo for a single night, and she never paid any rent.
"Deliberately swearing to false information essential to your role as a state legislator, as alleged in this case, eats at the credibility of our voting and political systems," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "I believe that there can never be a good reason for such action."
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Baez was forced to resign from her seat in the Florida House of Representatives. She tendered her resignation Nov. 1.
Baez was also sentenced to a year of probation, during which time she is prohibited from seeking public office.
"She apologizes to the community for having mistaken her obligations in changing her voter registration early -- earlier than she should have done," defense attorney Ben Kuehne said after Baez entered the guilty plea. "But we want to make clear that she did not, at any time, vote under any registration that was not her correct registration."