Indicted FL “Don’t Say Gay” Author To Change Plea

The Ocala Gazette reports:

A change of plea hearing has been set in the case of former State Rep. Joe Harding, who faces several federal charges related to allegations that he defrauded a pandemic-related government small business loan program. The hearing has been set for 4 p.m. March 21 at the U.S. Courthouse in Gainesville.

Harding, an Ocala Republican who previously represented District 24, resigned the seat in December following a six-count indictment for wire fraud and other charges related to the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

Harding, who has previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, declined to comment on what that change of plea hearing could entail. If the defendant is convicted, changing a plea earlier rather than later can sometimes work to a defendant’s benefit at sentencing.

Read the full article.

Last month Harding’s brother-in-law was sentenced to 5.5 years in a $7.8 million COVID fraud scheme. Harding’s trial, if he has one, is scheduled for May.