“I bring this up because, while it is not an issue for my client or I imagine for the city of Miami, Mr. Rogow’s client has a lawsuit against the state attorney and I do not want any last-minute motions that will delay this hearing,” Planas wrote to Rogow.
Later that day Rogow responded to Planas saying “It will be my position that there is no reason to move for disqualification and it has never been an issue.”
In his statement Tuesday, Cueto said he had no recollection of the Spence-Jones case, and that he wasn’t aware of any connection until being contacted by a reporter last week. He said he then contacted the former public corruptions chief, who also did not recall Cueto’s involvement in the case. But records show that in 2007, Cueto took sworn testimony during a contentious Mercy Hospital development case, from then City Manager Joe Arriola and Commissioners Marc Sarnoff and Tomás Regalado, among others. Cueto was elected judge in 2008.
The judge also criticized Spence-Jones for not bringing up earlier in the case the issue of his involvement as a prosecutor. He said she must have known because she wrote a 2009 Miami Herald opinion piece thanking the state attorney for reaching the right conclusion on the development case.
“Spence-Jones, being the intelligent, smart and seasoned politician she is, must have been aware through her attorneys of the full scope, content and participants in the investigation before writing such a laudatory statement,” Cueto wrote.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Rogow called the judge’s statement “absolutely absurd. There was no reason for us to sit back. He should have known.”
Whatever the new judge in the case decides, it’s unlikely to end the case. Both sides have vowed to appeal.