Looking to avoid getting accosted by reporters like she was a few weeks ago during a Hialeah clinic opening, Natacha Seijas brought in some heavy muscle to her court hearing yesterday. The county commissioner, who is seeking to block a recall vote against her, showed up at Judge Amy Steele Donner's court room flanked by a towering ogre in an olive green two-piece suit. His name is Luis de los Santos, a sergeant at arms, who pushed and blocked any one holding a microphone or notepad from confronting Seijas. He reminded Banana Republican of Luca Brasi, the enforcer from the epic film "The Godfather" who ends up sleeping with the fishes.
De los Santos wasn't the only one keeping ink-stained wretches at bay. Six courthouse assigned county cops formed a perimeter around Seijas and de los Santos from the sixth floor elevator all the way down the court house steps. At one point, Seijas, her brute, the officers, reporters, and their camera men tried to pack in to the elevator in a scene that was more "Johnny Dangerously" than "The Godfather."
Outside the courthouse, things got a little ugly. De los Santos elbowed and pushed a couple of female TV reporters from GenTV, Univision and America Teve who peppered Seijas with requests for comment. He looked like a charging rhinoceros clearing a path for an insufferable hippopotamus.
As the horde rounded the corner toward Flagler Street, the county commissioner finally gave the media hens a sound bite -- but not before she slapped one microphone away from her face.
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"I'm only going to say this one last time," Seijas intoned in Spanish, her face contorted in a grimace. "I will respect the judicial process. I will respond to the judicial process. Not to you. Now get that thing out of my face."
Meanwhile, Donner did not issue a ruling, but judging from her remarks and her questions to attorneys representing Seijas and Miami Voice, the group seeking her recall, we're betting the election moves forward.
County Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin's testimony also helped clear the air about the validation process for both recalls of Seijas and county Mayor Carlos Alvarez. He described the arduous task his clerks performed to ensure the signatures were legit. "Anyone who says we rushed this, it is just not so," Ruvin testified.