TALLAHASSEE — Rep. Ray Sansom temporarily stepped down as leader of the Florida House of Representatives Friday afternoon, less than a day after fellow Republicans said his legal troubles have become too much of a distraction for the Legislature to handle.
''Effective immediately, I have decided to recuse myself from the exercise of my duties as speaker of the House of Representatives. Ongoing legal proceedings have temporarily created an inability for me to carry out my responsibilities as speaker,'' Sansom wrote in a letter to House members.
''Under the House rules, during this temporary inability, Speaker Pro Tempore Larry Cretul will exercise all the duties, powers and prerogatives of speaker,'' Sansom wrote.
If he's cleared of all wrongdoing, Sansom would like to resume his duties as Florida House speaker.
The Destin Republican is under criminal investigation in connection with a hometown developer and an unadvertised job he accepted at Northwest Florida College, to which he quickly steered about $35 million in extra money.
Sansom has since resigned that $110,000 job, but he maintains his innocence.
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