Andrew Warren, the Hillsborough State Attorney suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis, vows to fight what he calls the governor’s abuse of power. In suspending Warren, DeSantis focused heavily on Warren’s signing of statements where prosecutors from across the country said they won’t use their offices to pursue criminal cases against seekers or providers of abortion or gender transition treatments.
DeSantis suspended the twice-elected Hillsborough State Attorney saying: “When you flagrantly violate your oath of office, when you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty, you have neglected your duty and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform those duties.”
In an interview on The Morning Show, Warren said he was blindsided by the order issued by DeSantis. He’s hired a team of lawyers to fight the suspension in what he characterizes as a forceful defense of democracy.
Warren says no cases have come before him that he refused to prosecute.
“The governor wasn’t able to identify a specific example where I wasn’t following the law, and in fact, this is about my opposition to two issues which have become his favorite cultural words,” Warren said. “Divisive issues, abortion and transgender health care. No case on either of those issues have come before me.
“The abortion law was found to be unconstitutional. There is no transgender health care law for me to prosecute in Florida. This is like the governor accusing me of robbing a bank, but then admitting I didn’t take any money from a bank that doesn’t even exist,” said Warren.
He makes it clear if people break the law or violate the Florida Constitution, he will prosecute.
“When I was sworn in, I put my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the U.S. and the Florida constitutions,” Warren said. “That’s exactly what I’ve done. And the governor has no evidence to the contrary.”
He said he does not serve at DeSantis’ whim and was twice elected by the people and sees this move as purely political. Warren is adamant he will fight the move and mount a forceful defense.
“This is just a dangerous attack on free speech and the governor’s doing it to further his own political ambitions and his attempt to run for president. And it doesn’t matter if you’re Democrat or Republican either. Everyone should be outraged,” Warren said.
Warren adds this is not about him but the community he serves.
It is now up to the Florida Senate to decide whether or not the suspension stands.
News4JAX did reach out to DeSantis’ office for a response and invited him to join us for an interview. The response we got from Brian Griffin, the Deputy Press Secretary was: “We appreciate your pursuit of balance in reporting. Please do present to your viewers the factual and legal basis for the governor’s decision. It is thoroughly laid out in the order suspending Andrew Warren and appointing Susan Lopez.”
Lopez is acting as interim Hillsborough State Attorney pending a decision from the Florida Senate.
While it did not include a specific statement reacting to Warren’s comments or to the request for Gov. DeSantis to join us for an interview, the comment did provide a copy of the Executive Order. It is included here: