Trial over DeSantis removal of prosecutor on abortion ends

Dec 1, 2022, 5:31 PM | Updated: 5:42 pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wasn’t seeking political retaliation when he removed a prosecutor over abortion and transgender views, but simply wanted to ensure state law would be enforced, the governor’s attorney told a federal judge Thursday.

Lawyers for Andrew Warren, a Democrat suspended from his twice-elected post as state attorney in Hillsborough County, disagreed, saying it’s clear DeSantis’ action was based on what Warren said and believed and not on his competence as a prosecutor.

DeSantis suspended Warren in August over the prosecutor’s signing of statements that said he would not pursue criminal charges against seekers or providers of abortion or gender transition treatments, as well as his policies about not charging people with certain minor crimes. Warren is suing to be reinstated.

“The motivating focus … is all about enforcement of the law,” said George Levesque, a private attorney representing DeSantis.

The issue arose after Florida passed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks. Florida doesn’t have a law addressing gender-confirmation treatments.

Lawyers for Warren said the suspension was clearly motivated by politics considering DeSantis made his announcement at a campaign-like rally with cheering supporters during which he attacked “woke” ideology. They noted he made similar statements that night on Fox News.

“For Gov. DeSantis it was a chance to kill three political birds with one stone,” said David O’Neil, who represents Warren. He said the one act allowed DeSantis to score political points by opposing abortion, projecting a strong “law-and-order” stance and by attacking “woke” ideology.

The three-day trial over Warren’s lawsuit against DeSantis concluded Thursday evening. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said it will be at least two weeks before he rules.

“I don’t know who’s going to win,” Hinkle said.

Warren was elected in 2016 and 2020 as prosecutor of Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa. He has said DeSantis overturned the will of voters by removing him from office.

More than 90 district attorneys, state attorneys general and other elected prosecutors throughout the U.S. have signed a letter saying they don’t intend to prosecute people for seeking, providing or supporting abortions. Dozens of prosecutors and law enforcement leaders also signed the letter opposing the criminalization of gender-confirmation treatments.

Warren’s suspension came as DeSantis, a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, joined a wave of Republican opposition to progressive prosecutors who exercise discretion over whether to charge people with what they deem to be low-level crimes.

In San Francisco, voters in June recalled Chesa Boudin, a former public defender who was elected district attorney in 2019 on a criminal justice reform platform. Boudin faced criticism over crime rates after declining to prosecute most drug offenses. A similar effort to recall the Los Angeles district attorney failed to garner enough signatures.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A man works at an avocado orchard in Santa Ana Zirosto, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 26,...
Associated Press

Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers

SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Iraqi currency crash halts after meeting with U.S. official

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s currency ended its nosedive after a meeting between the Iraqi Central Bank head and a top U.S. Treasury official. Under Secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement Saturday that he had met with Central Bank of Iraq Governor Ali al-Allaq in Istanbul […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Gas prices dip in NJ, around nation as cold weather returns

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gas prices dipped in New Jersey and around the country at large as cold weather descended on parts of the nation following an unusually warm January. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in New Jersey on Friday was $3.42, down three cents from last week. […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Kansas police responding to overdose call shoot, kill man

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas say an officer shot and killed an armed man after he fled from the scene of an opioid overdose on a bicycle. The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department said in a news release that officers spotted the man pedaling away Friday night from a home where they […]
13 hours ago
FILE - A Tesla Model Y Long Range is displayed on Feb. 24, 2021, at the Tesla Gallery in Troy, Mich...
Associated Press

Tesla hikes price of Model Y after US alters tax credit rule

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla has raised prices on its Model Y in the U.S., apparently due to rising demand and changes in U.S. government rules that make more versions of the small SUV eligible for tax credits. The Austin, Texas, electric vehicle company bumped up the price of the Model Y Long Range version by […]
13 hours ago
FILE - People visit Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on...
Associated Press

Disney World unions vote down offer covering 45,000 workers

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Union members voted down a contract proposal covering tens of thousands of Walt Disney World service workers, saying it didn’t go far enough toward helping employees face cost-of-living hikes in housing and other expenses in central Florida. The unions said that 13,650 out of 14,263 members who voted on the contract […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Trial over DeSantis removal of prosecutor on abortion ends