Carlos Beruff and Anthony Pedicini on State's Witness List in Kruse DUI Case

Commissioner Kruse's truck the night of the April 20 crash
Commissioner Kruse's truck the night of the April 20 crash
Dawn Kitterman
BRADENTON — On Monday, the State provided its exhibit and witness list in response to defense counsel’s notice of "intent to participate in discovery" in the case of the State of Florida VS Commissioner George Kruse—one count of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The prosecution’s exhibit and witness list provided to defendant’s counsel has been added to the 12th Judicial Circuit Court of Manatee County’s case docket.

In July, Kruse entered a plea of "not guilty" in response to the state attorney's charge of driving under the influence. The not-guilty plea followed the State Attorney's announcement the month prior saying that it would be moving forward to charge the commissioner with DUI after having completed its investigation into an April 20 traffic accident involving Kruse.  

The case will advance to a pretrial hearing which is currently scheduled for August 16. Defense counsel may argue against the legal admissibility or relevance of certain testimony, physical evidence, and/or documents included in the state’s discovery list. In a criminal case, the defense can also file a motion for total dismissal if it believes legal ground exists to do so. 

Various names were provided by the state as material witnesses for the prosecution of the DUI charge against Kruse, including seven individuals with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. 

Two witnesses who appear on the list may have political ties to the defendant. One such witness, Tampa-based political operative Anthony Pedicini, a campaign consultant and owner of the political consulting firm Strategic Image Management SIMWINS made the state's list. Kruse hired Pedicini as his campaign consultant in his 2020 run for the county’s at-large seat currently represented by Kruse. Pedicini also served as campaign consultant to Commissioners Vanessa Baugh, James Satcher, and Kevin Van Ostenbridge in their bids for commission seats in the 2020 election. 

Currently, Pedicini’s firm appears on campaign financial records of three current candidates for Manatee County Commission races, Republicans Mike Rahn for District 4, Amanda Ballard for District 2, and Jason Bearden for the county’s District 6 at-large seat. 

Along with Pedicini, the state’s submitted witness list also included politically-connected local developer Carlos Beruff of Medallion Homes. 

Other witnesses who appeared on the state’s discovery list include individuals who were questioned as part of MCSO investigation due to allegedly having firsthand accounts of the accident scene shortly after Kruse crashed his truck. 

In addition to the state's list of witnesses, the list of physical evidence and documents submitted by the prosecution also contain items of interest. While some items such as a receipt dated April 20—the night of the crash—from Sixty East Italian Cucina & Martini Bar and Verizon records seem straightforward, other items included were less clear as to the relevance in proving the state's charge against Kruse of DUI. 

Items that appear less obvious as to significance included screenshots, "full and public disclosure of financial interests," a Supervisor of Elections sales receipt and check, as well as a "list of judges and county commissioners document." 

It is impossible to know the nature or significance of all witnesses or items the state has included as relevant to the prosecution of its case against Kruse. It is also unknown which of the witnesses or items the court will ultimately rule as admissible by the prosecution. 

The pretrial conference hearing scheduled for August 16 at 10 am will be presided over by Judge Erika Quartermaine of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court. The pretrial hearing will be held via Zoom Conference. 

To view State’s discovery exhibit and witness list submitted in this case, click here

Reader Comments
AUG 07, 2022  •  He's utterly shameless, so it's largely wasted on him. But he was probably at the table with Kruse, and would have some kind of material knowledge of how much Kruse drank. It's not political. It's probably about the only thing they can do to approximate Kruse's blood alcohol level since the officer conveniently didn't bother to take a breathalyzer.
AUG 05, 2022  •  Mr. Pedicini, So you're actually saying that a typical, rear end accident on a weekday morning, where the driver exchanges her contact information is the same as a drunk driver who crashes into a tree and who lies about being drunk and then recruits another to lie about his participation, is the same thing? Ok. But dude aren't you embarrassed?
Ruth Lawler
AUG 05, 2022  •  Excellent investigative reporting again by Dawn Kitterman. Drunken driving is bad enough, yet to deny, plead innocent and have your wife assist in your coverup and removal from the scene is just pathetic. It is inconsistent to claim being a responsible County leader and behave in this manner.
AUG 05, 2022  •  Too bad Kruse, Pedicini and Beruff don’t live by or don’t remember the ancient adage “with great power comes great responsibility”. Found guilty or not, these men seem to have lost their way. How are they good for our community? Could Mr. Beruff afford to pay for an Uber to get his friend home safely? What are we saying to our children when we support this by our vote or if we just turn a blind eye?
Mary Anne Servian
AUG 05, 2022  •  Seems Pedicini has a stuttering keyboard. And why bring up Donna Hays? We deserve better than the Luke of Kruse. He and his wife need counseling but not on my dime please
Greg Miller
AUG 05, 2022  •  I think I prefer to wait for the verdict.
AUG 05, 2022  •  You know if he had just admitted that he had a problem with alcohol, accepted outcome, got help for his alcoholic behavior. Maybe people would forgive him. But when you lie, cover up with political friends, that is corrupt. Manatee county doesn’t need that.
AUG 05, 2022  •  What Hayes did was legal. The police tell people in fender benders with little damage that you can exchange information and leave if you want rather than wait, for what might be hours until an officer is freed up to go to low priority incident like this, and to just exchange information. I agree that this incident is nothing like Kruse's. Really tired to see our county commissioners so outrageous and embarrassing to our county. Everyone can see he was incapacitated on the video and his wife tried to conceal it by getting him home really fast so it wouldn't be known. He needs to resign and get help for his personal issues instead of laying them on the good citizens of Manatee county who tell the truth and follow the laws.
AUG 05, 2022  •  A commissioner, a developer, and a political operative walk into a bar....
AUG 05, 2022  •  Pedicini must be worried since he posted the same irrelevant rambling comment 4 times, in regards to a incident from 2012 that was an actual fender bender...Unlike like what Kruse claimed, his to be a minor incident where he hit a curb.
Peter Gozinya
AUG 05, 2022  •  Manatee county needs to change their ACE philosophy to Adultery, Corruption, and Ethics violations!
Ty Sheridan
AUG 05, 2022  •  TBT readers, do yourself a favor and click the link that Pedicini the Groomer of Awful Candidates has posted below, four times. He wants you to believe that Donna Hayes getting into a fender bender and giving the other driver her business card is that same as.... gaslighting adulterer, drunk-as-f**k, incoherent babbling, caught-on-tape, George Kruse. I guess he has to earn that consulting fee somehow, but you can't put lipstick on this pig. Pedicini is probably on the exhibits list since Mrs. Kruse called him first thinking he was their fixer. Body cam don't lie, but the Kruses sure do.
AUG 04, 2022  •  Repeat, Repeat, Repeat … is someone alittle upset that they were named?
Donna Hayes
AUG 04, 2022  •  Pedicini has never checked the Manatee Court Records nor Manatee Sheriff website. There is no record of my leaving the scene of a crash ! Pedicini is a known lying political Consulter just trying to shut me up & threaten me once again. Also I never have had a DUI Nor tested for DUI ! Folks just Check the records & remember he is simply after the money !’
AUG 04, 2022  •  Kruse is nothing but a lying COWARD & an ADULTER! Good grief, you could smell the alcohol reeking from the video, eyes rolling to the back of his head & the drunken babbling. His wife is complicit too! What about insurance fraud? I can't wait to vote NO Mike RahnG district 4 & that life long corrupt Gruters
Anthony Pedicini
AUG 04, 2022  •  Just want to remind all my friend, Joe McClash's readers that Donna Hayes did it best and did it first:
Anthony Pedicini
AUG 04, 2022  •  Just want to remind everyone here that Donna Hayes did it best and she did it first:
Anthony Pedicini
AUG 04, 2022  •  Just want to remind everyone that Donna Hayes did it first:
Anthony Pedicini
AUG 04, 2022  •  Just want to remind everyone Donna Hayes did it first:
Donna hayes
AUG 04, 2022  •  Seeing Pedicini & Beruff as witnesses is simply politics all the way. Whether Kruse’s issues are Adultery or Alcohol always seem to Focus on BARS! He needs to be removed from County Commission. This is so embarrassing for Manatee County. Kruse endorsed Mike Rahn so vote against another player !
AUG 04, 2022  •  It appears it was a family affair.. just another embarrassing moment for Manatee County..PATHETIC..