Former North Florida State Attorney sentenced in bribery, extortion scheme

Jeff Siegmeister
Jeff Siegmeister(District 3 State Attorney's Office)
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 2:47 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Former North Florida State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister was sentenced to 40 months in prison for conspiracy, extortion, and fraud in Jacksonville’s federal court Monday.

Siegmeister admitted to soliciting and accepting bribes from attorneys in exchange for reducing or dropping charges against their clients. He also admitted to diverting and pocketing more than half a million dollars from an elderly man’s estate. The judge Monday ordered Siegmeister to forfeit more than $518,000 as part of his sentence.

Later the same day, Dixie County defense attorney Marion Michael O’Steen was sentenced to 44 months behind bars for his role in the extortion scheme.

“As a member of law enforcement, Jeffrey Siegmeister was given incredible power to enforce the law and ensure justice,” said FBI Jacksonville Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks. “Likewise, as an officer of the court, Michael O’Steen had a duty to uphold the highest standards. However, instead of protecting the rights of citizens, both chose to abuse their positions of authority in an effort to line their own pocketbooks.”

Federal court records show Siegmeister faced up to 48 years behind bars in the extortion scheme. Siegmeister’s attorney asked the judge for a sentence of 20 months instead - the equivalent of time served - citing Siegmeister’s extensive cooperation in the investigation and his testimony against O’Steen.

Defense attorney Waffa Hanania cited Siegmeister’s “incredible remorse and regret” in a motion filed last week.

“Mr. Siegmeister’s life will never be the same again,” Hanania wrote in the October 12th motion. “He has fallen from a position of leadership and status to a person who has damaged, in some eyes irreparably, his reputation and integrity. He has fallen from a position as the highest-level enforcer of the laws of the State of Florida in his circuit to a position as a convicted felon.”

Siegmeister resigned as State Attorney in December 2019. He was indicted and arrested in February 2021 and entered a guilty plea a year later in February 2022.

Defense attorney Marion Michael O’Steen was convicted of extortion at his trial in June.

As part of his sentence, the judge ordered O’Steen to forfeit the $60,000 he extorted from his client and pay a $45,000 fine.

Former defense attorney Ernest Maloney Page was sentenced to six months in prison as part of the scheme. He is set to report to federal prison to begin serving that sentence in January 2023.