Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren lambasted Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to suspend the prosecutor, arguing the Governor is “trying to overthrow the results of a free and fair election.”
“People need to understand this isn’t the Governor trying to suspend the one elected official, Warren said. “This is the Governor trying to overthrow democracy here in Hillsborough County.”
Warren responded to the Governor’s decision after a press conference on a cold case recently solved by his office. The announcement came without notice to Warren, who said he has not yet gotten the chance to read the suspension, but said he “heard it contains a lot of conjecture and lies.”
“I woke up to do my job today, and that’s exactly what I did,” Warren said. “Just based on the Governor’s track record with unconstitutional orders, I have a feeling that this is going to be just as unconstitutional.”
Earlier Thursday morning, DeSantis announced the suspension of the 13th Judicial Circuit State Attorney, replacing the progressive prosecutor with Hillsborough County Judge Susan Lopez. In announcing Warren’s suspension, the Governor claimed Warren refused to enforce the law — specifically, he cited Warren’s refusal to enforce bans on abortion and gender-affirming surgery.
Most recently, Warren pledged he would not enforce Florida’s new law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which prompted the Governor’s decision.
“We’re protecting people’s rights; we have fought so hard for public safety and fairness and justice. If the Governor thinks he can do a better job, then he should run for state attorney — not President,” Warren said. “The Governor wants to do his sideshow with his cronies. I’m the one who’s upholding the law.”
When asked about the specific issues brought up by the Governor — not enforcing a 15-week abortion ban and a prohibition of gender-affirming surgery for minors — Warren said he has yet to have a case brought to him on either matter.
“We’ve had none. None of those cases have been brought to us. We’re not anticipating those cases being brought to us,” he said. “You should go ask the Sheriff whether he has had those cases and whether they’re investigating arresting people for that, because when they do, and they bring us a case, we’ll evaluate it.”
Warren, who was elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020, has pushed for justice reform throughout his tenure. While his progressive approach has earned praise from some, DeSantis criticized his use of power.
“I think the Governor is trying to make a good impression on the Iowa caucus voters,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist also hammered into Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to suspend Warren following the State Attorney’s press conference.
“He was maliciously attacked and sabotaged today, in his own office,” Crist said. “I’ve talked to a number of great legal minds today that are appalled by the Governor, they cannot believe it.”
Crist, who previously served as Florida Attorney General, said prosecutorial discretion is “inherent to the office.” He went on to call DeSantis “the most arrogant Governor I’ve ever seen in my life.”
The Congressman, who is also running for Governor, followed his meeting by joining a protest in Tampa against the Governor’s decision. The move has garnered harsh criticism by state Democrats.