Michelle Spence-Jones to Go After Katherine Fernandez Rundle

City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones is looking for vindication at the expense of the

city's top law enforcement official. According to a Feb. 14 letter

her civil attorney sent Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Spence-Jones is preparing to sue the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office for allegedly violating her civil rights were when she was

being prosecuted in two separate public corruption cases.

To show she's not playing,

Spence-Jones retained a New York City law firm that represents one of

three former Duke University lacrosse players who were wrongfully

accused of raping a stripper in 2006 and who are now suing cops in Durham, N.C.

Reached Monday afternoon, Spence-Jones declined comment. A spokesman for Rundle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last year, Spence-Jones was acquitted at trial on charges that she had solicited a $25,000 bribe from prominent developer Armando Codina.

Five months later, state prosecutors dropped separate grand theft charges against Spence-Jones after the case fell apart. In both cases, prosecutor Richard Scruggs' star witnesses, Codina, and Spence-Jones former mentor, former commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler, retracted testimony that implicated Spence-Jones. Codina and Carey-Shuler also accused Scruggs of misleading them into believing the elected official from Liberty City had committed a crime.

Spence-Jones was twice suspended from office and spent close to two years fighting the state attorney's office. In her letter to Rundle, Spence-Jones claims she "sustained damages as a result of prosecutorial and investigatory misconduct, compelled self-incrimination, unlawful and unreasonable arrests."

The commissioner also alleges the state attorney's office repeatedly defamed her and her criminal defense lawyer, Peter Raben. She specifically notes the close-out memo in the grand theft case in which Scruggs alleges Spence-Jones and Raben planted the documents that helped exonerate her in a box with other records from the investigation. 

In the Duke lacrosse players case, charges were dropped against the young men after revelations that the prosecutor, Mike Nifong, had lied, made public statements that were prejudicial against the defendants, and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty. Nifong was disbarred and criminally charged with lying to a judge. He served a one-day sentence for his fraud on the court. 

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.