An ex-aide claims in court documents that she was fired after finding Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll in a “compromising position” with another woman.
Carroll, commenting on the assertion, recently told WTSP-TV in Florida, said, “The problem is that when you have these accusations that come out, it’s not just one person you’re attacking. It’s an entire family. My husband doesn’t want to hear that. He knows the type of woman I am. I mean, my kids know the type of woman I am. For 29 years – I’m the one that’s married for 29 years. The accuser is the one that’s been single for a long time. So usually black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.”
Carletha Cole is alleging that Carroll obstructed justice in an attempt to conceal her lesbian relationship with another woman, also a member of her staff.
The claim comes in Cole’s defense in a case stemming from her arrest after she allegedly distributed recordings at the state capitol without permission.
Cole, in her complaint, said that after she discovered Carroll and another woman, other members of the staff criticized, harassed and threatened her. At one point, the woman that Carroll allegedly was involved with set a fire in Cole’s workplace trashcan.
The incident was investigated and, according to Cole’s attorney, it “ended with Carroll signing a recommendation letter for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent who destroyed the evidence.”
Carroll, a Republican, has said that Cole’s story consists of “outright lies” and the Florida Federation of Republican Woman issued a statement in defense of the conservative politician. The president of the group said Carroll is the “victim of a vile, vicious and ludicrous attack from a disgraced former employee.”
Cole’s attorney, Stephen Webster, said, “If Cole’s story really is an accumulation of lies, and the signed recommendation letter exists, then the lieutenant governor needs to be looking for the person who forged her signature.”
He also said Carroll is “using her power as a politician, as a leader within the American government system, to trample on a fine person. Carletha Cole is telling the truth, but the powers that be are doing everything possible to silence her.”
The news release on Cole’s behalf stated that she is “a mother of two and grandmother of four. She has never before been accused of criminal behavior.”
The release also says that to join Carroll’s staff, “Cole sacrificed her place in the seminary program at Harvard University. An AME minister, Carletha Cole has led an extremely successful life both personally and professionally.”
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