Discover more from Wonkette
Will The Creep Who Wrote Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Go To Prison? Guess We'll Find Out This Week!
Probably not, because he got a Trump judge who loves the Don't Say Gay bill!
Oh hey! You guys remember Joe Harding, the Florida state representative who wrote the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, kicking off one of the stupidest culture wars in the history of this country and forcing us all to deal with a deluge of book bans, attacks on our nation’s libraries and librarians and teachers, endless weirdos getting violent in front of drag queen story hours they were free to not take their children to, and laws in red states banning not just any mention of the existence of LGBTQ+ people, but any mention of racism and mandating that schools teach the sunny side of slavery?
You also remember how he fraudulently applied for PPP loans during COVID, even though the business he applied for them for literally didn’t do anything or employ anyone in the years 2020-21?
Well, back in March, he pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements — and on Thursday, he will he finds out if he goes to prison for that or not.
Loving this post? Not a free or paid subscriber yet? Let’s fix that!
He may not! Prosecutors are asking that he be sent there for bilking the federal government out of $150,000, but the judge presiding over his case is a Trump appointee who previously worked under Pam Bondi. And not just any appointee! He’s District Judge Allen Winsor, who appears to be the go-to guy when the DeSantis administration wants to get away with anything. He’s currently presiding over the Disney lawsuit — appointed after the previous judge, who DeSantis didn’t want, stepped down after finding out a relative had stock in Disney. He also previously tossed out two challenges to Harding’s “Don’t Say Gay bill,” on the grounds that the group of teachers, parents and students didn’t have standing because they hadn’t yet suffered any harm from the bill.
So it is entirely possible that this Judge will say that he is free to go.
“Harding’s professional accomplishments and contributions to the community are commendable. However, the (sentencing) guidelines ‘authorize no special sentencing discounts on account of economic or social status,’” read an August 31 memorandum from the prosecutors. Well, no discounts that are on the record, anyway.
The prosecutors in the case have suggested that the judge go easy on him because he confessed early on, but still think he should get some amount of prison time for stealing $150,000 from the federal government and using it to pay off his credit card bills and funnel some money to his brother-in-law, who was sentenced to over five years earlier this year.
I hate vindictive carcerality. I think it’s the one of worst things about this country — the fact that prisons and sentencing and the death penalty are so often used to satisfy bloodthirst, to achieve some form of catharsis for those who were wronged. I genuinely believe that not only does mass incarceration have no positive effect on public safety, but that any effect it does have, ultimately, is negative. There are better ways to create a safe society than imprisoning people.
And yet, I do want this man to suffer. In some way. I do want him to hurt. Sure, for stealing from the federal government, but more for the incredible harm he has inflicted not just on Florida school children, but also on children across this country. I’d like for him to be unhappy. Whatever form that comes in, we shall see.