Grand jury will decide if St. Johns County Commissioner Krista Keating-Joseph broke state election law

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Action News Jax’s Ben Becker has learned prosecutors will let a grand jury decide if St. Johns County Commissioner Krista Keating-Joseph should be indicted for violating state election law.

Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brian Kramer made the filing July 1 and is recommending a St. Johns County grand jury decide if Keating-Joseph should face charges. The Seventh Judicial Circuit recused itself due to a conflict.


Keating-Joseph, who is not up for re-election, endorsed other candidates and openly discussed voting her colleagues out of office during a November Board of County Commissioners meeting. Joseph was censured the following month.

An outside law firm hired by the county compiled the 15-page “Treadwell Report,” and concluded Keating-Joseph likely broke the law.

Keating-Joseph did file a federal lawsuit against her fellow commissioners but dropped the case in February. However, there is still a pending pre-emptive lawsuit against Kramer where Keating-Joseph claims her First Amendment rights would be violated if it is declared she can’t speak about elections.

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Becker reached out to Joseph and her attorney and received the following statement:

“Commissioner Joseph has a motion currently pending in federal court asking the court to decide whether her speech is protected by the First Amendment. Commissioner Joseph thinks it is extremely unlikely the state attorney would institute criminal charges against her while we are waiting for the federal court to decide the First Amendment issue, especially on the eve of the primary election. Even so, she is aware of reporting that the state attorney is going forward. The state attorney’s theory is evidently that it was criminal election interference for Commissioner Joseph to waive the American flag and inform the voters of the upcoming election if she intended for them to vote against her colleagues on the commission who are up for election. Commissioner Joseph believes the First Amendment protects her right to engage in political speech—even anti-incumbent speech. Her son died in combat fighting for our constitutional rights. Now, Commissioner Joseph is litigating in federal court to protect her First Amendment rights, and to stand up for the people of St. Johns County.”

See Kramer’s filing below:

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