A Florida Democratic mayor has been removed from office following her arrest in an FBI sting.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) suspended Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper from office while she faces charges brought forth by a federal investigation.
News of Cooper's removal came one day after she was arrested by federal authorities. She is accused of accepting illegal campaign contributions and illegally soliciting campaign contributions. Authorities charged her with three felonies: money laundering, exceeding campaign contribution limits and official misconduct. She was also charged with soliciting contributions in a government building, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.
The felony charges carry a maximum of five years in prison, while the misdemeanor charge carries a maximum one-year sentence.
Cooper said she plans to plead not guilty.
"I can assure you that I will vigorously fight these allegations in court," she said in a statement on Thursday, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Cooper has served as Hallandale Beach mayor since 2005. She previously sat on the city commission for six years.
People who worked with Cooper said she was meticulous about not accepting potentially compromising money, gifts and even items such as a soda. However, a long-term FBI investigation found otherwise.
The FBI's investigation surrounded Cooper's association with disbarred Florida attorney Alan Koslow, who she allegedly accepted illegal campaign contributions through. More from Fox News:
Court documents show that Koslow was given a Dunkin’ Donuts bag filled with $8,000 in cash by undercover agents August 2012. He allegedly told undercover agents he had influence with the city commission and “had the vote of the mayor.”
Agents reportedly met with Cooper and Koslow several times in 2012 and secretly recorded the meetings. In one such meeting, Cooper was recorded saying she and two other commissioners were a “team of three” and could ensure a favorable result for their project, the newspaper reported.
Additionally, Cooper also allegedly solicited fund for Anthony Sanders, the former commissioner of Hallandale Beach, who resigned from his position August 2017 following allegations of miscounted.
Cooper posted a $12,000 bail and walked out of jail Thursday night.