Andrew Warren for DeSantis: The court questioned the defendant, asking, “You can’t tell me the name of a single Democrat you talked to other than the sheriff of Orange County, can you?” the court was referring to the sheriff of Orange County.
Andrew Warren Was Looked Into by Gop Sheriffs and Others for Desantis
On the first day of the trial to reinstate ousted Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, a top official for Gov. Ron DeSantis testified that he did a thorough job figuring out that Warren was a troublingly progressive prosecutor who was “hostile and antagonistic” to law enforcement and needed to be removed from office.
On Wednesday morning, Warren’s counsel pounced during public safety czar Larry Keefe’s cross-examination to bring out gaps and omissions in his study, including the fact that he talked to just Republicans for DeSantis’ research.“You can’t give me the name of a single Democrat you talked to besides the sheriff of Orange County?” said U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle.
That’s right, Keefe said, but he didn’t know or try to find out anyone’s political membership. “My wife is a Democrat,” Keefe said. Keefe called the Florida Sheriff’s Association, which supports Republicans like DeSantis, first. (The organization supported Warren’s suspension.) He talked with Republican state sheriffs, prosecutors, and Attorney General Ashley Moody.
He spoke to Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who recognized Warren’s “reputation” as a “(George) Soros-progressive prosecutor.” He stated former Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister criticized Warren. Keefe claimed law enforcement authorities informed him Warren’s ideas would constitute “an immediate, direct threat to the residents of the state of Florida” if they spread.
Jean-Jacques Cabou, Warren’s attorney, questioned Keefe if he spoke to Tampa’s current police chief, previous police chief Jane Castor, Warren’s office, or victims’ rights groups regarding Warren’s performance. Keefe denied.
Hinkle, nominated by former President Bill Clinton, questioned Keefe if he communicated with non-law enforcement in Hillsborough County. Keefe claimed he met with Tampa brothers Preston and Rex Farrior, who have contributed thousands to GOP candidates, including $20,000 to DeSantis, and Tampa lawyer Martin Garcia, who chaired Republican Pam Bondi’s successful 2010 campaign for Florida attorney general. Keefe said that Garcia’s daughter, a federal prosecutor, was considered a senior office member after DeSantis dismissed Warren.
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Keefe denied researching those practices during his evaluation of prosecutors not prosecuting charges. Keefe was also asked about Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma’s 2020 refusal to implement an assault weapons registry if it was constitutionally amended. Keefe reacted lately.
It worries Keefe. Keefe’s original draft of the governor’s executive order dismissing Warren-based primarily on Warren’s letter declaring he wouldn’t pursue abortion-related crimes. It also repeatedly accused Warren of having “ceded his power to Mr. Soros’ views on the prosecution.” Soros sponsored Warren’s campaign through “pass-through corporations, including the Democratic Party.”
“But they may be important for the bigger political narrative,” Treadwell wrote before deleting the language. Treadwell said Wednesday the Soros information “has no place as a reason for suspension.” DeSantis cited Soros during his press conference announcing the suspension and on Tucker Carlson’s show, but the final order did not.
This week’s trial will examine why DeSantis removed Warren, a twice-elected Democrat who ran on a progressive platform with Soros’ indirect support. DeSantis claimed he dismissed Warren because he signed two statements from a global criminal justice group committing not to pursue abortion and transgender treatment offenses and refused to defend the law via progressive policing.
This week, Warren’s attorneys said he was targeted for his beliefs. Warren’s team rested Wednesday. After DeSantis’ attorneys bring three witnesses, the case may end Thursday. Hinkle may rule after the trial.