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Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper reinstated after acquittal by jury

Cooper feels ‘vindicated’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has reinstated Joy Cooper as mayor of Hallandale Beach after a jury cleared her two weeks ago of accepting illegal campaign contributions in a corruption sting.

Cooper was reinstated as mayor of the Broward County city Thursday. Jurors acquitted her of all charges Nov. 26.

“To say the least it has been a long two years,” Cooper said in a Facebook post Thursday. “It was so humbling to have so many of you come to court and share your love and support throughout the trial. To those who couldn’t attend but continued to send messages of prayers and support, thank you for lifting my spirits and proving that there are far more good people in this world than bad.”

Cooper was accused of accepting $5,000 in illegal contributions seven years ago. Former Gov. Rick Scott removed her from office the day after her arrest in January 2018.

Cooper will be owed back pay because she was acquitted, City Attorney Jennifer Merino said. The amount was not immediately available. Taxpayers could also be responsible for Cooper’s legal bills, though that would have to be approved by the commission, Merino said.

Hallandale Beach voters elected a new mayor, Joy Adams, to serve until either Cooper was reinstated or when her term expired in November 2020.

Cooper will run the next City Commission meeting Dec. 18.