Marion County residents react to state representative Joe Harding’s resignation

Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 7:25 PM EST
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) -Residents are speaking out about Republican state representative Joe Harding resigning just one day after being indicted for allegedly defrauding $150,000 COVID-19-related small business loans.

Amy Beshears said she’s glad that this indictment is happening because politicians should be held accountable just as much as civilians.

RELATED: State Rep. Joe Harding resigns after DOJ indictment

“In a country especially coming from a party that introduces bills based on morality and then turning around and getting indicted for things that are definitely immoral,” said Beshears. “I do understand that he has paid it or is in the process of paying back and while I think that is very admirable. I also think that our politicians, our elected officials need to be held at higher accountability in general.”

While many condemn Harding’s actions, the Owner of Amrit Palace Indian Restaurant Gurpreet Singh, said he gives him the benefit of the doubt and judgment should be left to the courts.

“I think the trial by media should not be something that we adhere to and always make sure that we stick to the fact that it’s innocent until proven guilty,” said Singh. “I have faith that Joe Harding is a standup guy for the community, and him paying the loans back, I think it’s good that he did that”

Back in September, Harding’s brother-in-law Patrick Walsh plead guilty after also defrauding the federal government out of $8 million dollars.

I mean having faith in the justice system then you should face charges but at this time, we don’t really know too much and I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt at this point in time.”

Harding was indicted on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements. The trial for Harding will begin on January 11th at the U.S. courthouse in Gainesville.

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