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Date of Issue: June 24, 2009

Cramer ready for August trial

Former Anna Maria City Commissioner Linda Cramer said she is prepared for the Aug. 10 trial of two men accused of home invasion, robbery and false imprisonment at her Anna Maria residence in April 2008.

 “I’m looking forward to putting an end to this ordeal,” she said. “It’s been a tough year.”

In addition to the home invasion, in which she received multiple bruises and injuries when she struggled with her attackers, Cramer is suffering from a genetic kidney disease and has had other health issues the past 14 months.

The two suspects arrested in the case, Michael Gambuzza and Christopher Drescher, have entered not guilty pleas.

Gambuzza sent a 44-page letter to presiding Judge Gilbert A. Smith May 19, in which he alleged his civil rights have been violated. The letter will be presented in court during the trial, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said.

Cramer had no comment on Gambuzza’s allegations, but said she is trying to obtain a copy of the letter prior to the trial.

Gambuzza and Drescher have had four trial dates postponed since they were arrested in May 2008.

The two men are charged with one count each of home invasion and robbery, a first-degree felony, and one count each of false imprisonment, a third-degree felony.

The home invasion charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years upon conviction, while a guilty verdict for false imprisonment could bring up to 10 years jail time.

The suspects have been in the Manatee County jail on a $175,000 bond each since they were arrested about a week after the incident.

Cramer was beaten and robbed at the Crescent Drive home of her boyfriend, Joe Pandolph, after two men posing as delivery men forced their way into the house, reportedly looking for cash, jewelry or other valuables. Pandolph was not at home at the time of the attack.

Cramer suffered multiple facial bruises in the incident.