Former Lakeland PD chief accuses State Attorney of extorting res - WRBL

Former Lakeland PD chief accuses State Attorney of extorting resignation

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File: Former Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack File: Former Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack

The gloves are off for former Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack, and she's swinging -- hard. She is accusing State Attorney Jerry Hill of extorting her resignation.

The stunning, felony allegations are part of an eight page request Womack has sent to both the Governor's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

READ: Lisa Womack's complaint letter

Womack wants an independent investigation into her claims Hill threatened to have her indicted and charged with official misconduct if she didn't resign.

"I really do hope they can hold him accountable for actions I believe were inappropriate and unethical and criminal," Womack said in an exclusive interview with News Channel 8.

RELATED STORY: Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack resigns early

The so-called misconduct Womack believes Hill was threatening her with involves claims she violated Florida's anti-nepotism law.

During her tenure at LPD she faced accusations she manipulated, even rigged the hiring process in order to get her nephew-in-law a job at the police department.

Her husband's nephew was never hired, but that doesn't matter. Hiring a nephew-in-law is not against the law, and Womack believes the misconduct threats were simply manipulation by the State Attorney.

"Do I believe I did anything that would warrant the allegations that have been made," Womack asked during our interview. "Absolutely not," she said.

We enlisted the help of an expert to sort through Womack's request.

READ: Documents related to Womack's request

Lee Atkinson is a former federal and state prosecutor. He says Florida's extortion law is pretty clear, and while prosecutors can offer defendent's deals to avoid charges they first have to believe those charges would stick in court.

"To investigate her for violating a statute when on its face she could not be guilty of it would be an abuse of discretion," Atkinson said.

State Attorney Jerry Hill has some very strong opinions about Womack's latest barb.

He describes the former police chief as a "bitter, disappointed person who continues to make herself look small".

Hill says prosecutors allow defendants to engage in pre-trial diversion programs all the time, and the law does not consider that extortion.

Hill also explained that the Lakeland Police Department is in much better shape since Womack officially left the agency in February.

RELATED STORY: Former Lakeland PD chief cleared of wrongdoing 

"The Department today is one thousand percent better off than it was under her leadership," Hill said. "She was a disaster."

The Governor's Office essentially dismissed Womack's request giving WFLA the following statement: "State Attorneys are accountable to the families of their district. Ms. Womack can explore her options through the court system."

A spokeswoman for FDLE confirms that agency has received Womack's request for an investigation, and the request is currently under review.

Womack, meantime, plans to forward her complaints on to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"This is not something that will come as a surprise to a good number of people because I have been saying all along that these actions were inappropriate," Womack said.

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