State won’t prosecute former Fort Myers Police captain

The state will not prosecute Jay Rodriguez, a former a captain with the Fort Myers Police Department, according to new court documents.

Rodriguez was accused of soliciting and engaging in prostitution with a female massage therapist while on duty and acting in an undercover capacity during a massage parlor operation in Fort Myers on March 14, 2013.

The state filed a notice that it would not prosecute Rodriguez Thursday. He faced charges for prostitution, official misconduct and perjury.

Rodriguez was a high-ranking captain at the department and was arrested after a video surfaced that supposedly showed him engaging in sexual acts at a massage parlor.

According to a court document filed in October, Rodriguez and his defense team asked for video recording of him — key evidence in the case against him — not be used by prosecutors.

The defense team claims in its motion there was no video authorized, approved or allowed as part of the operation, and say it was not part of standard FMPD practices under the type of operation being conducted.

We spoke to one of Rodriguez’s attorneys, who told us the State’s case fell apart after it started deposing witnesses.

“Mr. Rodriguez has been vindicated,” said Larry Justham, Rodriguez’s defense attorney with Ringsmuth, Day & O’Halloran, PLLC. “His case has been dropped entirely, and we are going to move forward.”

Justham says the video was not part of FMPD’s official investigation. The first 46 minutes of the video are missing and so is an unknown amount of video from the end.

“The video that was the internet sensation the state had in its possession was not made as part of any law enforcement investigation,” Justham said.

Court documents also show the person in possession of the video, a former detective who was fired after being accused of perjury, sent Facebook messages about altering the video before releasing it.

“If you have testimony from a witness who is not credible, that damages your ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Pamella Seay, an FGCU justice studies professor. “And it actually adds to the opportunity for doubt in the minds of a juror.”

Seay says, without the video as evidence, the state’s case likely fell apart.

“The video is damning but damning for whom?” Seay said. “And I think that is the problem. You don’t know exactly who was there, exactly what happened. You don’t know when that happened.”

We reached out to the prosecutor of the case but did not hear back in time for air or online publication.

Jay Rodriguez also sent us a text message Friday. He said, “I am extremely grateful for the love and support I have received from my friends, my family and my legal team.”

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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