UPDATED: Florida drops battery case against McKeeva Bush

Speaker: “I committed no crime”

No charges will be filed against Cayman Islands Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush in relation to allegations that he inappropriately touched a Florida casino waitress last month.

Prosecutors in the State Attorney’s Office in Broward County, Florida, confirmed statements by Mr. Bush’s attorney Friday that no charges would be filed against the 62-year-old Legislative Assembly representative.

The reason  for the prosectors’ decision had not been made public as of press time Sunday.

In a statement released late Friday, Mr. Bush said he believed Florida prosecutors had worked “diligently” on the matter following his arrest at the Coconut Creek casino in South Florida on July 17.

“From that date forward, I have protested my innocence and repeatedly stated that I committed no crime,” Mr. Bush said. “I have expected and anticipated that a thorough review of the allegation would prove [the] same.

“The last few weeks have been very difficult for both me and my family, and the support we have received has helped us get through these difficult times.

“To my detractors, my only hope is that you never have to go through what me and my family have over the past few weeks, but if you do, hopefully those around you will not rush to judgment and say or write disparaging comments before the truth prevails.”

Broward County State Attorney’s Office spokesman Ron Ishoy issued a brief statement after the Cayman Compass asked questions about it Friday.

“The Broward State Attorney’s Office in Fort Lauderdale filed paperwork Friday afternoon – an announcement of no information – noting that it will not file a charge of misdemeanor battery against William Bush,” Mr. Ishoy said. “An explanation of that decision will be available in the coming days.”

Mr. Bush’s Florida attorney, Keith Seltzer, said such a decision could only have been made after a careful review of all the evidence available in the case.

“I am certain that the prosecutor determined that there was no evidence that a crime was committed and therefore no likelihood of obtaining a conviction for a battery offense, should they have elected to proceed further,” Mr. Seltzer said.

Mr. Bush was arrested by Seminole Police, the force that has responsibility for the Coconut Creek casino, after officers took a statement from a casino waitress who made various allegations. After Mr. Bush’s arrest, he was released on a US$1,000 cash bond and no court date was given.

Mr. Seltzer said that according to Florida criminal law, the state has 21 days following the date of an arrest to decide whether to file formal charges and proceed with a court hearing. In this case, he said, the state dropped the matter before Mr. Bush was formally charged.

Mr. Bush said Friday that he wished to put the whole matter to rest.

“It is my desire to put this unfortunate incident behind us and get back to continuing to work with our government to make Grand Cayman the great place to reside and the wonderful, beautiful tourist destination,” Mr. Bush said.