The lawyer ofÂ aÂ former West Palm Beach Police officerÂ charged in a nationally-covered, caught-on-videoÂ beating contributed to the reelection campaign of Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffeÂ — eight days after McAuliffe’s prosecutors dropped felony charges and allowed the officer to plead to a misdemeanor!
AÂ Gossip Extra investigation of McAuliffe’s donors revealed that the firm of Michael Salnick, a criminal attorney who represented disgraced cop Kurt Graham, donated $500 — the maximum allowed –Â to McAuliffe’s campaignÂ on Sept. 30, according to records.
— Click here to view the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections’ records
TheÂ $500,Â donated in the name ofÂ Salnick & Fuchs, cameÂ on the last day ofÂ the reportingÂ quarter, atÂ a time whenÂ contributions to McAuliffe’s coffersÂ plunged to just $6,400. He raised nearly $90,000 the previous quarter.
Salnick, whoÂ isn’t returningÂ calls for comment,Â waited until Sept. 30 to contribute even though McAuliffe’s account was opened in March.
When asked for his comment via email, McAuliffe responded: “Not worthy of a comment!”
Charges of official misconduct were dropped in the three-year-old case against Graham and his former colleague Joseph Schwartz on Sept. 22. Graham pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery and agree to undergo anger management. He received no jail time or probation.
Despite in depth investigation by his staff and West Palm Beach Police Internal Affairs and the FBI,Â McAuliffe said heÂ saw new evidence on a slowed down version of the incriminatingÂ videoÂ that Salnick presented to him: ThatÂ the suspectÂ supposedly tried to bite the officers!
Back in 2008, Graham and Schwartz, who are no longer policemen, were caught beating and kicking robbery suspect Pablo Valenzuela. Valenzuela was handcuffed and on the ground when Graham kickedÂ him so hard that his body lifted off the ground. One of the policeÂ cars’ dashboard cams videoed the incident, and ended up on CNN. (Click here to see the video)
While many defense lawyers contribute to the political campaigns of candidates for sheriff, judgeÂ and state attorney,Â Salnick’s contribution adds a third wrinkle in what’s becoming a growing scandal for McAuliffe.
Last week, ex-Riviera Beach cop and talkshow host Rick Sessa filed a complaint against McAuliffe with the Florida Commission on Ethics. It alleges that McAuliffe agreed to drop charges after a meeting with Police Benevolent Association boss John Kazanjian in which the union’s support for McAuliffe was discussed.
Earlier this week, Gossip Extra revealed exclusively that Scott Richardson, a criminal lawyer hired by McAuliffe to be his second-in-command, had represented police officer Schwartz just days before his hire.
McAuliffe called the ethics complaint “a vendetta” while saying that safeguards were put in place to prevent Richardson from working on the Schwartz-Graham beating. He didn’t elaborate
Cards on the table: I’m Rick Sessa’s co-host on his radio show, The Beat, Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. on Seaview 960 AM