A South Florida City Commissioner pleaded guilty to lying about being a paralega in order to visit a man held in an immigration detention center who prosecutors described as her “romantic partner.”
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Julianna Clare Strout, 36, has served as a North Bay Village City Commissioner since November 2018. Strout pleaded guilty to “attempting to enter and entering an immigration detention center using fraud and false pretenses.”
She received a prompt sentence of 50 hours of community service and a year of probation. According to a penalty sheet, the crime was classified as a “petty offense” and the maximum sentence that could have been imposed was six months in prison for each count.
The underlying incident happened in October 2021, yet the case wasn’t brought up until September 2022. This is because the coronavirus pandemic had, at the time, “suspended social visits” at the Krome Service Processing Center, according to the DOJ. However, legal visits were allowed.
HOW IT WENT DOWN
The DOJ said that, on three different occasions, Strout showed up at the detention center. While there, she “told officials that she worked as a paralegal for a certain law firm and that she wanted to visit a detainee to have legal documents signed.” She went further to “present officials with a letter that carried the letterhead of the law firm.”
According to the DOJ, Strout was using the letterhead without permission and did not have authorization from the law firm to enter the detention facility. “Strout had never worked for the law firm. Instead, she had a romantic relationship with the prisoner.”
The DOJ said that when Strout was first refused access, she flashed her badge as the North Bay Village Commissioner and demanded security let her in because “she was a public official.”
Strout received the letterhead by getting in touch with an attorney at a particular law firm, according to the factual proffer
She used the letterhead to make a visitation letter. She sent an email to officials at the detention facility on October 18, 2021, requesting permission to visit, and it was approved on October 22, 2021, according to the factual proffer.
However, before the letter she sent via email was approved, Strout tried to use the document in person to enter or attempt to enter the detention center on October 18, 20, and 22 due to the delay in approval.
Her first appearance [Oct.18] to see the detainee was denied because she did not have a legitimate visitation approval letter from the facility, despite having provided the bogus letter she had drafted. She then flashed her North Bay government ID and the official had no choice but to let her have her way.
Strout and the detainee have a falling out, leading to the inmate letting her go and blowing the whole affair wide open. The inmate later admitted to having a romantic relationship with Strout and told detention Supervisory Deportation Officers that he did not want to see her.
Strout, whose name was among the list of “Republican Party executive committee candidates” in 2020 and also played a significant role in a Republican-connected “conservative climate rally,” was found out and all her tricks nullified.
Her further attempts to visit the detainee on October 20 and 22, when she utilized a letter of approval for visits; and on November 2, 2021, when she pretended to be the detainee’s wife, were all turned down.
Strout’s term as a commissioner ends in November. The former beauty queen once represented Rhode Island in the Miss America pageant.
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