Politics

‘Flagless abuse of power’: Ousted Florida prosecutor sues DeSantis for suspension


Warren’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, alleges that DeSantis violated his First Amendment rights by suspending him for signing a pledge not to prosecute women for seeking abortions and his public statements opposing the criminalization of transgender people. He’s asking the court to overturn DeSantis’ executive order used to suspend him and rule that governors are not allowed to take similar action in the future.

He also alleges that DeSantis exceeded his authority to suspend elected officials because he did so with Warren solely for signing pledges, rather than in response to official action. The question is now likely headed to the Republican-led Florida Senate, which is expected to take action before Warren is formally removed from office.

“No decision on any case ever considered by Warren during his tenure has been affected by these statements,” wrote David B. Singer, an attorney representing Warren, in the lawsuit. “Statements of opinion on matters of public debate do not relate to incompetence within the meaning of the Florida Constitution.”

Warren’s profile rose following his suspension, as Democrats and others rallied behind him and accused DeSantis of employing bullying tactics and constitutional overreach.

Warren, in his lawsuit, claims his suspension amounts to political reward for political disagreements.

Specifically, the lawsuit highlights DeSantis’ comments about Warren’s suspension, in part because he signaled his support for gender-affirming treatment for transgender minors, including signing a statement “condemning the criminalization of transgender people and gender-affirming health care”. DeSantis has been a leading critic of gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors, but Florida has no law banning them. Last week, the state took the step of barring individuals from receiving Medicaid reimbursements for gender-affirming treatment.

DeSantis’ office said the lawsuit was expected.

“It’s no surprise that Warren, who was suspended for failing to follow the law, is filing a lawsuit without legal basis to challenge his suspension,” said Taryn Fenske, DeSantis communications director. “We look forward to responding in court.”

Warren’s lawsuit also notes that he was “never referred to a case involving a request to prosecute abortion-related crimes,” so he was never declined to prosecute under any statute of the state. state, despite signing the abortion pledge.

DeSantis’ press conference announcing Warren’s suspension was a politically tinged spectacle featuring a rally-like event with local law enforcement officers each taking turns on the microphone to blast Warren’s performance in as a state attorney. Former DeSantis publicist Christina Pushaw tweeted the night before teasing that there was a “MAJOR announcement” coming the next day. This tweet from Pushaw was included as part of the lawsuit as Warren attempted to portray his suspension as more political than motivated by compliance with state law.

Republicans previously targeted Warren in 2016 for election-related financial support he received from Democratic donor George Soros. They also criticized him for his progressive stance on criminal justice reform.

“DeSantis has frequently spoken out against Warren’s and Warren’s views, including on the topics of the administration of criminal justice, abortion, and transgender rights,” the lawsuit reads.

DeSantis nominated Susan Lopez, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, to fill Warren’s position. DeSantis previously nominated Lopez to serve as a Hillsborough County judge.

Politico

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