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The Latest: Groveland 4 pardon gets additional support

FILE - In this March 14, 2018, file photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a hearing on school safety on Capitol Hill in Washington. Rubio is calling on Florida officials to formally pardon four young African-American men who were wrongly accused of raping a white woman nearly 70 years ago. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on a posthumous pardon for the Groveland Four (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

A member of Florida’s clemency board has requested the state begin the process to formally pardon four young African-American men who were wrongly accused of raping a white woman nearly 70 years ago.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis asked Wednesday that the case be brought before the clemency board. The clemency board consists of the governor and three other elected officials. Patronis is the only one who will remain on the board past early January.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has called the case of the Groveland Four a “horrifying injustice.”

It’s not clear how long it will take the Florida Commission on Offender Review to do a clemency report on Earnest Thomas, Charles Greenlee, Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin.

Thomas was killed during a manhunt and the other three were convicted with dubious evidence. Shepherd was later killed by a sheriff who claimed he and Irvin tried to escape.

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4:40 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is calling on Florida officials to formally pardon four young African-American men who were wrongly accused of raping a white woman nearly 70 years ago.

The Florida Republican made the request Tuesday on the floor of the Senate. The move is significant because GOP Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other Republicans on the state clemency board have refused to take up the pardon request.

Scott was elected last month to the U.S. Senate and will soon join Rubio in Washington, D.C.

Florida’s incoming agriculture commissioner has already pledged to push for a posthumous pardon of Earnest Thomas, Charles Greenlee, Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin.

Rubio said what happened to the four men was a “horrifying injustice” and still haunts Florida to this day.

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