Former Fla. GOP chief pleads guilty before trial

Monday - 2/11/2013, 4:57pm EST

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 file photo, Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer talks with reporters after receiving a vote of confidence from the executive committee of the Florida Republican Party in Tallahassee, Fla. Greer's two-week trial starts Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 on theft, fraud and money laundering charges. Jurors will have to decide if Greer committed a crime when he channeled more than $200,000 of party money to his company, or whether the charges against Greer are revenge for the waning popularity of his political patron, former Gov. Charlie Crist, who defected from the Republican Party to run as an independent for the U.S. Senate and is now a Democrat. (AP Photo/Tallahassee Democrat, Bill Cotterell, file)

MIKE SCHNEIDER
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The criminal trial of former Republican Party of Florida chair Jim Greer had promised to be embarrassing for party leaders, rising Republican star Marco Rubio and former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is contemplating a new political future as a Democrat.

But Greer's guilty pleas on Monday to four counts of theft and a single count of money laundering ended the trial before it even started and ensured that some state GOP secrets will remain confidential, at least for the time-being.

"There were a number of people who did not want this trial to go forward and the trial isn't going forward," Damon Chase, Greer's attorney, said after the former chair entered his pleas in court. "Once again, Jim Greer is falling on his sword for a lot of other folks."

Greer, 50, could face a prison sentence of 3
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.