Andrew Warren makes case against suspension in Day One of trial against Gov. DeSantis
Ron DeSantis was hesitant to fire Andrew Warren — at least initially.

Warren DeSantis
Andrew Warren says Gov. DeSantis suspended democracy and violated his right to free speech.

Suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren took the stand Tuesday as a federal court seeks to answer whether Gov. Ron DeSantis had the right to suspend Warren after the rising Democrat signed a pledge against prosecuting abortion-related cases.

The trial, which began Tuesday, comes after Warren accused DeSantis of violating his right to free speech. Warren has also argued the suspension “suspended democracy” and overturned the will of Hillsborough County voters, who have elected and re-elected him as State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit.

“We’re not just fighting for the job I was elected to do,” Warren told reporters Tuesday morning. “We’re fighting for the rights of voters across Florida to have the elected officials of their choice, we’re fighting for free speech, the integrity of our elections, and for the very values of our democracy.”

DeSantis suspended Warren on Aug. 4, citing his signing of a pledge not to prosecute abortion-related cases after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling leaving abortion issues to the states.

DeSantis and his lawyers have argued that pledge, and another against prosecuting doctors who provide gender-affirming care to minors, constitute a “neglect of duty” and “incompetence,” two reasons a Governor can suspend a local elected official under the state constitution.

Florida doesn’t currently have a law banning such treatment, as Judge Robert Hinkle noted during the first day of the trial. However, attorney George Levesque, representing the Governor, said Warren’s blanket statements are indicative of his misunderstanding of the law and incompetence.

After each side presented their opening statements, Warren spent two hours testifying on his own behalf, fielding questions from his attorney. In his testimony, Warren went through his background as a federal prosecutor and made the point that the joint statements he signed on transgender issues and abortion were not policies of his office. His office provided no training along those lines, and it wasn’t in policy handbooks or official documents.

Levesque later questioned Warren about the pledges, which were organized by Fair and Just Prosecution, a progressive group dedicated to reforming the criminal justice system, and signed by dozens of prosecutors across the country.

He pressed Warren on whether the pledges were “blanket statements” making it a policy of his office not to prosecute criminal abortion or transgender care-related cases. Warren said the pledges were still in keeping with his office’s policy of using prosecutorial discretion based on the unique facts of each case. Warren also noted that no abortion-related case was ever referred to his office and no state law exists on banning transgender-related care.

Later in the day, DeSantis’ public safety czar, Larry Keefe, who reviewed all state attorneys to see if any weren’t enforcing state law and passed on Warren’s signing of the pledges to DeSantis and his office, took the stand. Under questioning from Warren’s attorney, Jean-Jacques Cabou,Keefe said he puts more weight behind Warren’s pledges not to prosecute certain classes of crimes than his “boilerplate” statements his office judges each case on its own merits.

“I don’t believe this recited, incantation inoculates what Mr. Warren signed in the joint statements,” Keefe said.

Such statements harm law enforcement’s ability to protect the community and lead to “chaos and anarchy,” he added.

“You can’t have a prosecutor proclaiming … that certain laws are not going to be enforced,” Keefe said.

The trial continues Wednesday and is expected to run through the week.

___

Gray Rohrer and Renzo Downey of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Staff Reports


16 comments

  • Tom

    November 29, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    No one cares bout Warren, Soros slime ball, defying state law for partisan liberal woke agenda.

    Hmm, Fed appeals and or Supreme Court will not ignore explicit State Const. Authorizing Gov with supreme authority.

    Like Israel before him, if they cared so much bout public policy before they were removed, we’d all be better off.

    Hinkle never should have taken this.

    • marylou

      November 29, 2022 at 4:47 pm

      Little Lord deDICKtator does not have “supreme authority” to infringe on anyone’s Freedom of Speech rights.

      • marylou

        November 29, 2022 at 5:28 pm

        UPDATE: After doing further research, I have found out that it is not a violation of Freedom of Speech rights to suspend a state attorney for refusing to do his job which is to enforce the Florida law. I would like to once again apologize for spreading dangerous misinformation. As I said earlier, my doctor told me I may be mentally disabled. This may have something to do with my dad and my uncle being the same person, I’m not quite sure.

        I hope you can find it in you to forgive me. I promise to do better in the future.

      • Tom

        November 29, 2022 at 9:45 pm

        Yes hootch, you are so wanting of Govs tool. You mention it, as you covet his tool. The power tool.

  • Tom

    November 29, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    No one cares bout Warren, Soros slime ball, defying state law for partisan liberal woke agenda.

    Hmm, Fed appeals and or Supreme Court will not ignore explicit State Const. Authorizing Gov with supreme authority.

    Like Israel before him, if they cared so much bout public policy before they were removed, we’d all be better off.

    Hinkle never should have taken this.

    • Mac Wiseman

      November 29, 2022 at 4:35 pm

      Right on the money Tom. Its not going to be possable for Hinkle to twist the law into his usual pretzel knots with this case. He should have prentended to be sick or whatever. Soros is counting on leftist tool Hinkle to deliver a rulling in favor of his boy Warren but it is not going to happen.

      • Tom

        November 30, 2022 at 6:03 am

        Correct Mac, Hinkle already signaled with appeals and supremes looking over shoulder that he won’t call Gov in to testify. This was a big mistake. Do Israel had first amendment right, to allow Cruz to do what he did. This is bogus example, far left judges. Hinkle and Walker, 2 examples.

        Just morons like nail, snail, whining and attacking me. Nail is the biggest baby on FP. Total conspiracist theory proponent. Just ridiculous nonsense perpetuated.

        You got your ass kicked snail. 60%!

      • Tom

        November 30, 2022 at 6:03 am

        Correct Mac, Hinkle already signaled with appeals and supremes looking over shoulder that he won’t call Gov in to testify. This was a big mistake. Do Israel had first amendment right, to allow Cruz to do what he did. This is bogus example, far left judges. Hinkle and Walker, 2 examples.

        Just morons like nail, snail, whining and attacking me. Nail is the biggest baby on FP. Total conspiracist theory proponent. Just ridiculous nonsense perpetuated.

        You got your ass kicked snail. 60%!

    • nail

      November 29, 2022 at 7:08 pm

      No ome cares about you! or what you have to say. A Desantis paid bootlicker cannot have an unbiased opinion. You are disgusting and vile even as a Pushaw/desantis/Orban paid troll.
      I see exactly why FL Politics does not have others that respond to their stories, you. FL Politics obviously cares nothing about their own rules. Fake media again.

      • Tom

        November 29, 2022 at 8:19 pm

        Wah, Wah, I am the FP legend.
        Nail, you big baby, how’s 60% feel up the pie hole. 60, Florida sunshine coalition.

        How’s that old banana cabana Cardenas, his whale Navarro?
        You got your ass kicked real good, hurts even worse 3 weeks later, still.

        Wait til DeSantis is seated in WH Oval! At Resolute desk. Enjoy it.

        • Joe Corsin

          November 30, 2022 at 7:55 am

          Legendary imbecile…

    • Lynn

      November 30, 2022 at 5:10 pm

      I guess Civil Rights is not one of your interests.

  • Aggie

    November 30, 2022 at 12:17 am

    If Warren is removed from office for signing a pledge to not criminalize a certain type of medical procedure then shouldn’t all the government officials who signed a pledge to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform to not raise taxes under any circumstances also be removed from office? Adjusting tax rates is their responsibility when it comes to meeting the needs of their constituents and the responsibilities of the state. Ron DeSantis, both Florida senators and almost every other office holding Republican in the state have signed this pledge, even tho this organization Is based in DC and holds no real stake in how Florida’s government operates. They’re openly refusing to perform an important part of the job they’ve been elected to do.

    • Tom

      November 30, 2022 at 5:35 am

      Aggie, Baggie, and Maggie, totally corrupt, non example example.

      Warren has been removed, he’s gone. He’s asking for reinstatement. Only the Florida Senate under law can reinstate. He’s tried to make this a first amendment issue. His job is to uphold law, not violate it. The fed judge will not win this, appeals ct ir supremes will have final say.

      • marylou

        November 30, 2022 at 2:22 pm

        This is a 1st Amendment issue. It is the government infringing on Warren’s right to Free Speech. That’s it. It is disturbing that you and others on the Right would so willingly give up our Constitutional rights.

        Pretend it’s Biden doing this if that’s the only way that you can find the outrage that you should be feeling, Tom.

  • G. Fardella

    November 30, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    Suggest AG Warren find a new position and cease his crying over spilled milk as he plainly does not represent the wishes of the people in choosing to enforce only “certain” laws and let’s not forget that he went easy on illegal protestors during the riots of a few years ago; the Governor clearly is within his rights and we applaud the firing of AG Warren.

Comments are closed.


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