Federal Judge Rejects Push for DeSantis Testimony

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will likely not have to testify in court over the decision to suspend a Hillsborough County prosecutor. 

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that DeSantis would likely not have to testify, but the decision could be revisited when the trial begins next week. 

DeSantis removed Andrew Warren from his post back in August citing promises the elected prosecutor had made to not enforce certain laws, including the state’s recently enacted ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

Warren has sued in federal court, contending that his First Amendment rights were violated and that his suspension was politically motivated.

Warren, a Democrat, was in an elected position as a state attorney general. 

DeSantis’s decision to suspend Warren generated national attention. He repeatedly cited it himself on the campaign trail for the midterm elections. 

DeSantis announced Warren’s suspension during a televised press conference, and his press secretary at the time, Christina Pushaw, posted a tweet on social media the night before previewing the suspension by saying: “Prepare for the liberal media meltdown of the year.”

Exhibits from the case indicate the DeSantis team tried to capitalize on Warren’s suspension and planned out media coverage of the move. 

The case has already unlocked details of how DeSantis and his inner circle operate. 

More details could emerge from the trial. Several high-ranking top aides for the governor are listed as witnesses — including Pushaw, the governor’s current general counsel and current communications director, as well as Larry Keefe, the public safety czar who has also played a pivotal role in the relocation of nearly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.

Whether DeSantis will need to testify in the case has been a big question. Warren’s lawyers have said they don’t plan to call DeSantis to the stand to testify. 

“I refuse to let this man trample on your freedoms to speak your mind, to make your own health care decisions, and to have your vote count,” Warren said when he announced over the summer that he’d mount a “vigorous defense” over the matter.

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