‘I was blindsided’: Andrew Warren speaks out, plans to explore legal options following suspension
On thing you can say about Ron DeSantis — he doesn't shy away from a fight.

Warren DeSantis
'Let's be clear — this is not about what I've done. This is about what I've said.'

Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren is speaking out following his suspension by Gov. Ron DeSantis, calling it a “blatant abuse of power.”

In speaking with media Friday morning, Warren said he was “blindsided” by the announcement. He said he was escorted out of his office by an armed Sheriff’s Deputy with no warning.

“Unfortunately, yesterday an armed deputy escorted me out of my office with no warning, not even a chance to read the order,” he said. “This was something that wasn’t planned. So, right now, my concern over the past 24 hours has been making sure that the office continues doing the work that we’ve been doing for the past five and a half years.”

DeSantis announced the suspension of the 13th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Thursday morning, replacing the progressive prosecutor with Hillsborough County Judge Susan Lopez, who was sworn in following the announcement. 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.

“Let’s be clear — this is not about what I’ve done. This is about what I’ve said,” Warren said. “This is Orwellian thought police. I’m being punished for not enforcing a law that doesn’t even exist.”

Warren recently 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. Warren said he has yet to have a case brought to him on either matter cited by the Governor.

“This has nothing to do with a job I’ve done as the State Attorney. This is about the Governor wanting to run for President,” he said. “This is a very dangerous precedent that the Governor has set, he could do this to any elected official who says something that he doesn’t like. And that’s not democracy. That is not America.”

Warren responded to the Governor’s decision Thursday afternoon after a press conference on a cold case recently solved by his office. The timing, he said, was deliberate.

“I do think that it was planned,” he said. “It’s really unfortunate that the Governor’s political sideshow potentially took crime as a casualty. Our ability to prosecute two people for a 39-year-old cold case and to give the victims who have been waiting for that day to come for so long — to jeopardize that so that the Governor could pull this political stunt is just unconscionable.”

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 has criticized Warren’s use of power.

In the coming days, Warren said he plans to explore legal options.

“This political stunt should scare anyone who believes in our democracy. It’s a blatant abuse of power, it’s a flagrant violation of the most fundamental American value — that people elect their leaders,” Warren said. “To be clear, I’m going to fight this. We’re going to fight for democracy. We’re going to fight for American values.”

Warren also spoke to an outpouring of support from Democratic lawmakers.

“I’ve heard from too many people (to) count. The outpouring of support has been tremendous, and humbling,” he said. “People were outraged. People are terrified that this is happening. People are shocked that they woke up in America and saw the Governor strip someone who’s been elected twice. I mean, let’s be clear — this is about overthrowing results in a fair and free election.”

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


19 comments

  • Elliott Offen

    August 5, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    ” I was blindsided by DeSatan! They said they would take me to the concentration camp if I didn’t sign a confession! I’m flying out of the USA as soon as I can get a ticket!” – Mini Hitler victim

    Reply

    • Bring it back

      August 5, 2022 at 12:29 pm

      Ron’s wife’s cancer was more impartial then he is.

      Reply

  • Larry Burns

    August 5, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    He deserved to be sacked. Legislatures enact laws. Prosecutors enforce them. He has no authority under our democratic system to refuse to enforce laws he doesn’t like. He apparent forgot this tenet which is taught during the first semester of law school, if not before.

    Reply

  • marylou

    August 5, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    Abortions are self defense issues.

    Embryos and fetuses endanger women’s lives. Men are allowed to defend themselves. Stand Your Ground rights should be for women, too.

    Reply

  • Rick

    August 5, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    “Blindsided”?!?!?? During my 21 years as a military officer if I had written or signed a letter that stated as an officer in the military with NJP and Courts martial authority I refuse to refer military members who commit certain crimes, I would have expected to have been fired. This guy is not only delusional, he seems exceptionally dumb! When you are a prosecutor that’s what you do, prosecute those who break the laws, you can’t pick and choose! It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the laws it’s your job, one that tax payers pay you to do, and the insubordination manifest in your written refusal to do so is clearly grounds for dismissal! Was this guy sleeping when they taught law in law school?

    Reply

    • Elliott Offen

      August 5, 2022 at 3:20 pm

      Yeah this isn’t an authoritarian system like the military. Sorry to see your transition back to civilian life was a little incomplete. VA is there to help!

      Reply

      • Mike

        August 6, 2022 at 1:57 pm

        An oath of office to uphold the laws passed by the state legislature and a similar oath to uphold military law are neither “authoritarian”. It’s an oath to do a job. This isn’t hard to understand. You want people on the opposing political isle to start cherry picking what laws to uphold every election cycle? No. Nobody wants that.

        Voters get to vote for laws and then they need to be enforced, whether it’s for or against your democracy. Condoning this type of behavior by Andrew Warren is to literally say you are against rule of law and democracy.

        Reply

        • Mike

          August 6, 2022 at 2:03 pm

          For or against your personal politics*** dunno why there isn’t an edit option for comments…

          Reply

  • JD

    August 5, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    Was there any evidence he has not done his job? Or merely the statement he won’t?

    So is it Guilty before proven innocent now?

    Reply

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      August 6, 2022 at 8:12 am

      “Merely “.Seriously ? Once the state attorney declares he’s not going to follow the law, then he needs to go. But the far left trolls don’t see it that way.

      Reply

  • Toast Master

    August 5, 2022 at 3:08 pm

    Why don’t you escape your little bubble and do a little research. Or is it too scary to confront your cognitive bias?

    Reply

  • Joe Corsin

    August 5, 2022 at 3:24 pm

    He should have kept his mouth shut and defied mini Hitler in secret. Never pays to out yourself. To be fair, if he’d done such a thing in Bogota he would have been killed. Don’t worry though folks…we are almost there. Hope everyone has an escape plan. Cheers!

    Reply

  • martucci

    August 5, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    More Governors need to step up to the plate and take a clue from Gov. Ron
    You don’t get to pick and choose what laws to prosecute, just as we, the people do not get to pick and choose what laws to obey!

    Reply

  • Sumter53

    August 5, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    The well respected sheriffs including Grady Judd spoke at the conference and they took their concerns about this Soros supported individual very seriously. Watch the whole presentation and you will realize Warren was derelict in every way. He made communities unsafe repeatedly.

    Reply

    • Joe Corsin

      August 5, 2022 at 7:19 pm

      ^ Troll post

      Reply

  • Tom

    August 5, 2022 at 10:52 pm

    Blind sided my ass!
    That’s because he’s a soros Manchurian, living in the msnbc bubble.

    Total abdication of the state constitution and state laws.

    Good for the Govveeenor! Whiz kid Gov whizzes upon the soros Manchurian nation!

    Remove all of them. It’s over!

    God bless Gov Ron and his family!

    Reply

  • Margaret

    August 6, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    He should sue the Governor for denying him First Amendment Right of Free Speech. Warren has not acted on anything. He merely signed a petition, which is his right. A Petition is not equivalent to legal action. It is not a law that has been broken.
    The Law that was broken, was broken by the Governor in removing a duly elected official. The Governor has thwarted the Will of the People. He has committed an unConstitutional act.

    Reply

    • Tom

      August 6, 2022 at 7:55 pm

      That’s a lie! The constitution allows him. He has every right to remove someone who prosecuted a minister.

      Who pledged openly and publicly not to enforce specific statute. And has not done so.

      First amendment does not allow you to scream fire in a theatre, and to be derelict, period to your constitutional oath. Warren had his own private agenda. Soros Manchurians party getting its ass kicked.

      DeSantis will get 60% of the total vote. Up to 40% Dems will vote for him. 60% independents, 55% Hispanics, 95% of Repubs.

      Enjoy it.

      Reply

    • Tom

      August 6, 2022 at 8:11 pm

      That’s a lie!
      He has every right to remove someone who prosecuted a minister.

      Who pledged openly and publicly not to enforce specific statute.

      First amendment does not allow you to scream fire in a theatre, and to be derelict, period to your constitutional oath. Warren had his own private agenda. Soros Manchurians party getting its ass kicked.

      DeSantis will get 60% of the total vote. Up to 40% Dems will vote for him. 60% independents, 55% Hispanics, 95% of Repubs.

      Enjoy it.

      Reply

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