One week after resigning from office, former Miami State Rep. Daisy Baez pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying about her address on a voter-registration form.
The Coral Gables Democrat appeared in Miami court Wednesday to formally accept the plea deal that called for her to quit and agree to serve one year of probation. Baez, who lasted less than a year in office, became the third Florida lawmaker last week to resign amid scandal during the past six months.
Baez declined to speak to reporters after the brief hearing.
“She apologizes to the community for having mistaken her obligations in changing her voter registration early, earlier than she should have done,” said her attorney Ben Kuehne. “Today, she resumes her private citizen status.”
During the 2016 campaign, Baez was not actually living in the district for which she was running. Investigators believe Baez lied when she filled out a voter-registration form changing her address to a condo in the district days before the November 2016 election.
On the form, Baez claimed to reside at the Anderson Avenue condo in the district.
But her friend, Maritza Jacobson, told investigators that Baez asked if she could list her home as her residence. Baez, while signing a lease indicating she rented a room at the condo, “never moved in nor did she ever stay at their residence for a single night,” according to a statement released by prosecutors.
“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,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle said in a statement. “I believe that there can never be a good reason for such action.”
Facing a potential third-degree felony for lying on an official form, Baez agreed to plead guilty to a similar misdemeanor charge and resign. “Daisy did what she thought was best for the community to put this matter to an end,” Kuehne said.
Under the terms of the plea, Baez will also pay a $1,000 fine, take an ethics course and serve one year of probation, during which she’ll be banned from seeking public office. She was also granted a “withhold of adjudication,” which means she won’t technically be considered a convict.