A Florida political ad concerning a wrongful conviction has stirred criticism from both the target and the subject. ”Listen to the words of Freddie Pitts,” says the radio ad denouncing Jim Davis’ vote in the state legislature 16 years ago against restitution for two black men railroaded for two murders and sentenced to death. Some of the words belong to Pitts — but the voice does not. It belongs to an actor rephrasing a Pitts quote in a recent Miami Herald article. And two of the three quoted sentences came not from Pitts but from codefendant Wilbert Lee.
”Talk about dirty tricks and dirty politics,” Pitts told the Miami Herald. Davis’ camp and black supporters also assailed the ad. Mirroring a campaign mailer, the ad was underwritten by a sugar conglomerate spending an estimated $2 million to support his rival in the Democratic primary for governor, Rod Smith. Pitts and Lee had been pardoned 15 years before the legislature’s vote, and another man had confessed to the crime.