'Blatant abuse of power': Ousted Florida prosecutor sues DeSantis over suspension
Warren argues his First Amendment rights were violated and DeSantis abused power
Specifically, the lawsuit points to DeSantis’ comments about suspending Warren, in part, because he has signaled he supports gender-affirming treatment for transgender minors, including signing a statement “condemning the proposed criminalization of transgender people and gender-affirming healthcare.” 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 to prohibit individuals from receiving Medicaid reimbursements for gender-affirming treatment.
DeSantis’ office said the lawsuit was expected.
“It’s not surprising Warren, who was suspended for refusing to follow the law, would file a legally baseless lawsuit challenging his suspension,” said Taryn Fenske, DeSantis’ communications director. “We look forward to responding in court.”
Warren’s lawsuit also notes that he has “never been referred a case involving a request to prosecute abortion-related crimes,” so he has never refused to prosecute under any state law, despite signing the abortion pledge.
DeSantis’ press conference announcing Warren’s suspension was a political-tinged spectacle featuring a rally-style event with local law enforcement officers, each taking their turn at the mic to blast Warren’s performance as state attorney. DeSantis’s former press secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted the night before teasing that there was a “MAJOR announcement” coming the next day. That tweet from Pushaw was included as part of the lawsuit as Warren tried to paint his suspension as more political than driven by adherence to state law.
Republicans have previously targeted Warren in 2016 over election-related financial support he received from Democratic donor George Soros. They have also criticized him for his progressive stance on criminal justice reform.
“DeSantis has spoken out frequently opposing Warren and Warren’s views, including specifically on the subjects of criminal justice administration, abortion, and the rights of transgender people,” read the lawsuit.
DeSantis appointed Susan Lopez, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, to fill Warren’s post. DeSantis had previously appointed Lopez to serve as a Hillsborough County judge.