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DeSantis defends treatment of fired Florida data scientist during search warrant execution

8 On Your Side

TAMPA (WFLA) – During a news conference in Tampa on Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis acknowledged he was aware of the investigation into Rebekah Jones for the first time.

Jones, 31, has claimed she was wrongly-fired because she wouldn’t manipulate coronavirus data while employed at the Florida Department of Health.

“Were you aware that the Rebekah Jones raid was about to happen?” asked 8 On Your Side Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi.

“I knew there was an investigation,” said Gov.DeSantis, “It’s not a raid, with all due respect, what you just said is editorializing.”

On Monday, agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement executed a search warrant on Jones’ home in Tallahassee.

Video of the incident, that showed agents with guns drawn, went viral.

The state suspects Jones illegally accessed the Florida Department of Health messaging system which is part of an emergency alert system, to be used for emergencies only,” according to an FDLE spokesperson.

Jones denies she was the one who sent the message.

“I didn’t even know there was a message sent. I didn’t even know what it said until yesterday,” she said.

Gov. DeSantis disagreed with the reporter’s characterization of the incident as a “raid.”

When 8 On Your Side’s reporter attempted to clarify the question, DeSantis interjected.

“I’m not going to let you get away with it,” said Gov. DeSantis.

“These people did their jobs. They’ve been smeared as the ‘Gestapo’ for doing their jobs. They did a search warrant. Why did they do a search warrant on the house? Because her IP address was linked to the felony. What were they supposed to do, just ignore it?” said Gov. DeSantis.

In the past, Governor DeSantis has referred to the execution of a search warrant as a “raid.”

You can watch Mahsa’s full exchange with Governor DeSantis in the video player below:

>> Follow Mahsa Saeidi on Facebook

>> Follow Mahsa Saeidi on Twitter

>> Send Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi a tip

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