‘Genius Map Drawer” Denies Sharing With GOP Officials

May 31, 2014

A state Republican staffer, tagged as a “genius map drawer,” denied discussing or sharing proposed new district lines in 2011 with national GOP officials, as the second week of a trial over the state’s redrawn congressional maps concluded Friday.

GOP staffer Frank Terraferma was called back to provide additional testimony after his name was revealed to have been included in an emailed invitation to a June 15, 2011, meeting at Republican National Committee headquarters.

Terraferma’s brief appearance Friday via telephone highlighted testimony as the state began its defense against allegations from voting-rights groups, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, and seven voters that are challenging the constitutionality of the congressional map.

The plaintiffs had been seeking for six months the full email announcing the 2011 meeting sent by RNC staffer Jessica Furst Johnson.

The names of those invited to the meeting — Terraferma, current House Speaker Will Weatherford, current Senate President Don Gaetz, Weatherford’s chief of staff Kris Money, and Gaetz’s chief of staff Chris Clark — had been redacted on a prior version of the document.

Terraferma, whose name was accompanied on the email by the sobriquet “genius map drawer,” said he was unaware of the meeting, which would have been held prior to the Legislature redistricting effort, or even the full email that was ordered released by a Washington D.C. court on Thursday.

Terraferma recalled little about the national party staffers also listed on the email, saying he may have spoken to Johnson after redistricting was completed, and added there was never talk of submitting maps under third-party names.

Districts identical to those drawn by Terraferma wound up submitted to the Legislature under the names of other individuals, including Alex Posada, a former Florida State University student.

Posada said under oath in a deposition given Thursday morning that he did not draw the congressional map, did not submit it to the Legislature and did not authorize anyone else to do so on his behalf, a lawyer for the voting rights groups told The News Service of Florida.

Terraferma may be called back for additional questioning, as John Devaney, a plaintiff’s attorney, said work is continuing with the D.C. court to get additional documents released from the Republican National Committee.

George Meros, an attorney for the Legislature, said the defense should be completed by Tuesday.

Closing statements could take the trial to Wednesday.

By Jim Turner

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