August 17, 2022 Updated 10:07 A.M. ET
TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Former State Attorney Andrew Warren announced Wednesday he filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis for suspending him after claims that Warren neglected to do his job.
Warren filed a suit in the United States District Court that asks for Warren to be restored to his elected office. The lawsuit alleges the governor violated Warren’s first amendment rights to express his views.
“The governor’s action in claiming, clearly suspending Andrew from his elected office because of what he said, because of what he thinks, because the long-standing firmly held views on things like criminal justice reform, and on other topics like abortion and the rights of transgender Americans,” Warren’s attorney said.
Part of the reason why the governor suspended the state attorney is because of his vow not to enforce certain abortion laws or potential laws related to sex change operations.
“State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis said earlier in August.
Warren’s lawsuit also asks the court to exercise supplemental jurisdiction and test the governor’s power to do the things he’s done. The attorney claims the governor removed him from office because of policy differences and said the court should decide whether Warren neglected his duty as state attorney.
“This morning, I filed a suit in federal court to challenge the blatant abuse of power by Governor DeSantis and suspending the state attorney,” Warren said. “There’s so much more at stake here than my job.”
“Our suit asks a judge to compel the governor to rescind his illegal order and to prohibit him from taking similar action against me in the future.”
The governor’s communications director, Taryn Fenske, responded to the lawsuit.
“It’s not surprising Warren, who was suspended for refusing to follow the law, would file a legally baseless lawsuit challenging his suspension,” Fenske said. “We look forward to responding in court.”
The governor’s executive order said Warren neglected his duty to perform his job. DeSantis said Warren has instituted a policy during his current term against prosecuting crimes where the initial encounter between law enforcement and the defendant results from a non-criminal violation in connection with riding a bicycle or a pedestrian violation.
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“Such policies have the effect of usurping the province of the Florida Legislature to define criminal conduct as well as the duties of other law enforcement officials in Hillsborough County to faithfully enforce violations of Florida criminal law,” the governor’s executive order said.
Warren asked people to “join the fight” on his website. A reporter asked him several times whether Warren would release the names of the lawsuit donors for the public to see. Warren refused to say whether he would or not.
The governor’s former press secretary has previously criticized Warren and other prosecutors for being “backed by Soros” and refusing to “enforce laws across the country.”
When the Tampa Bay Times asked Warren in 2020 if George Soros helped fund his campaign, Warren replied, “We think so.”
“We understand that he gave money to the state (Democratic) party. And the state party money … went to support different candidates. And I have very little insight into the amount of money he gave, who it went to, etc.”
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