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Florida Lawmaker Who Wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Facing 35 Years In Prison After Pleading Guilty To COVID Relief Fraud



Florida congressman Joseph Harding, who sponsored the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, is facing up to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty on Tuesday Tuesday to committing $150,000 in COVID-19 relief fraud.

The 35-year-old Republican pleaded guilty in Gainesville federal court to wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements in connection with COVID-19 relief fraud, according to court records.

Harding became nationally known last year over his sponsorship of a law that forbids education on sexual orientation and gender identity.

He resigned from the Florida House in December, a day after federal prosecutors announced his indictment.

According to court documents, Harding made false statements to the Small Business Administration while applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan for one of his dormant business entities.

After obtaining $150,000 in COVID-19 relief funds, prosecutors said Harding conducted three monetary transactions, each involving more than $10,000 in fraudulently obtained funds: a transfer to his joint bank account, a payment to his credit card, and a transfer into a bank account of a third-party business entity.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 25.

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