Florida prosecutor Andrew Warren has sued Governor Ron DeSantis after he was suspended for voicing support for trans and abortion rights.
Earlier this month, Warren was removed from his position as the state attorney of Hillsborough county after he pledged not to enforce Florida’s harmful bans on abortion and gender-affirming care for trans youth.
During a press conference on 4 August, DeSantis claimed that the two-time elected official was following a “woke agenda.”
“To take a position that you have veto powers over the laws of the state is untenable,” he added.
However, after nearly two weeks since his unceremonious suspension, Warren retaliated against the conservative governor with a lawsuit.
On 17 August, Warren took to Twitter and announced that he would be suing DeSantis for his “abuse of power and unlawful suspension.”
“The governor has broken two laws. He’s violated my first amendment rights by retaliating against me for speaking out on abortion and transgender rights, and he’s violated the Florida constitution by removing me from office without any legal justification,” the Democratic official said via a Twitter video.
“We filed a lawsuit to make sure that even though Ron DeSantis is governor, the First Amendment still has meaning, Florida’s constitution still has meaning, and elections and democracy still have meaning.”
— Andrew Warren (@AndrewWarrenFL) August 17, 2022
In an additional press conference, Warren accused DeSantis’ of overturning a fair election and “throwing out the votes of hundreds of thousands of Floridians.”
“If the governor’s allowed to do this, what’s left of democracy? If the governor’s allowed to retaliate against me for speaking, what’s left of the first amendment?” he added.
Shortly after the lawsuit was announced, a spokesperson for DeSantis described the legal filing as “baseless”.
“It’s not surprising Warren, who was suspended for refusing to follow the law, would file a legally baseless lawsuit challenging his suspension. We look forward to responding in court,” the statement said.
Over the last two weeks, political officials and specialists have condemned DeSantis’ decision to suspend Warren.
Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution, Miriam Krinsky, described the governor’s call as “tyrannical.”
“Warren was fired for being transparent with his community about the values and priorities that guide him as he exercises well-established prosecutorial discretion,” she explained (per Naples Daily News).
“If these are grounds for removal, we’d be hard pressed to find any elected prosecutor whose job is safe from the governor’s tyrannical whims.”
Democrat and Florida governor hopeful Nikki Fried echoed similar sentiments in her own statement.
“For this governor to weaponize his office and remove a state attorney – a prosecutor – who has prosecutorial discretion over which cases he brings forward and which he doesn’t, this is the overreaching and overstepping of this governor,” she said.
“It’s the most dangerous thing to our democracy that we have seen.”