The Florida state consultant who sponsored laws opponents dubbed the “Don’t Say Homosexual” invoice resigned Thursday, a day after he was accused of fraudulently acquiring tens of hundreds of {dollars} from a federal Covid-relief program.

State Rep. Joseph Harding, a Republican, stated his resignation can be “efficient instantly.” He has been indicted on a slew of fees, together with wire fraud, cash laundering, making false statements and different crimes.

The six-count indictment alleges that Harding, 35, sought greater than $150,000 in Covid-relief loans and obtained roughly $45,000 in January and February 2021, for a pair of firms that had been dormant within the months earlier than the purposes have been filed.

In a resignation letter addressed to Florida Home Speaker Paul Renner and posted on Harding’s marketing campaign Fb web page, he stated his authorized woes, which embrace a trial within the case set to start in January, required his full consideration.

“It has been an excellent honor to serve the individuals of this state and extra particularly the individuals of Levy and Marion Counties,” Harding stated. “Nonetheless, resulting from authorized points that require my full focus, it’s my opinion that now’s the time to permit another person to serve my district.”

Renner stated in a press release, “I perceive and respect his choice to submit his resignation. Any questions on his case needs to be directed to his authorized counsel.”

The indictment alleges that in purposes to the Small Enterprise Administration in 2020, Harding claimed Vak Shack Inc. and Harding Farms had half a dozen staff and gross income from the earlier 12 months totaling greater than $800,000. State information confirmed the entities have been dormant and had no staff.

Harding pleaded not responsible in courtroom Wednesday.

In a press release posted Thursday on Fb, Harding stated he had repaid “each penny” of the mortgage.

“There shall be a time once I can inform my story intimately, and I’ll,” Harding stated in assertion, including that he has “executed my finest to cooperate totally with all authorities.”

He didn’t instantly reply Thursday evening to request for added remark.

Harding, whose district contains Ocala, was first elected in 2020.

He sponsored a invoice this 12 months prohibiting “classroom dialogue about sexual orientation or gender identification” within the state’s main faculties. The invoice, which was criticized as an assault on Florida’s LGBTQ group, was signed into legislation in March by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Tim Stelloh contributed.