Charlie Crist sets record for fastest flip-flop

In today's edition of the Friday files, we disclose which politician is a descendant of a Siamese twin, which one is a "Pants on Fire" liar, and more.

But first, we have a new record for Florida's fastest flip-flop.

Not surprisingly, the honor goes to Charlie Crist.

The new time to beat: Four hours and 24 minutes.

That's how long it took for the governor to take a stand last week — and then reverse himself.

The clock started Monday morning at 11:04 in the Sentinel's editorial conference room.

As Crist's endorsement interview was winding down, ed-board chief Mike Lafferty asked the governor why he had ignored repeated calls to look into wrongful convictions in Brevard County.

Already, courts have overturned the sentences of three men who spent years, even decades, behind bars for crimes they didn't commit. There may be others, because the same fraudulent — and later discredited — "expert witness" who helped convict them also testified in dozens of other cases. Some are still in prison, while others who are out now have felony records.

Yet, for nearly two years, Crist has ignored repeated calls for an independent investigation to determine how many others may have been wrongly convicted. "Why not?" Lafferty asked Monday.

Crist's response was immediate: "I'd be happy to."

It took him less than a second to offer his pledge. He went on to say it sounded like simply "a matter of justice."

It was practically a Hallelujah! moment.

Finally, we might get answers. Not automatically freed inmates, mind you. But a legitimate investigation into a series of injustices already proven to have occurred.

Except the excitement was short-lived.

At 3:28 p.m. — precisely four hours and 24 minutes after Crist told us he would be "happy" to call for an independent investigation into these rotten cases — his press office wrote to say that, in fact, he would not.

A spokesman said he had conferred with the governor's legal office and decided to stick with its original position that the governor needn't be involved.

One could almost laugh … if the stakes weren't so serious.

Fact-checking

I often receive notes from readers who want more resources for vetting political claims. Well, one of the best is the Pulitzer-prize-winning website, Politifact.com, which breaks down issues, examines accusations and calls out lies.

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