TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s been more than a year since Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren.
Warren could run again in 2024, but he tells Investigator Mahsa Saeidi that he wants his job back now. He says his life has been at a standstill as he fights to get it back.
Warren was suspended one year and three days ago. In that time, so much has happened, including DeSantis launching his presidential campaign.
While kicking off his campaign on May 30 in Iowa, DeSantis brought up Warren’s suspension, saying he refused to uphold laws, including the state’s new restrictions on abortion.
“I removed him from his post. He is gone,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis replaced Warren with former county judge Susan Lopez.
“I was asked to bring this office back to basics,” Lopez said on Aug. 1.
After his suspension, Warren sued, saying his First Amendment rights were violated.
Warren appealed, and he continues to wait.
“This has been really tough on me and my family,” Warren said last week.
In Denver on Friday, exactly one year after his suspension, Warren received the American Bar Association’s top award.
The Curtin-Maleng Minister of Justice Award honors a prosecutor who embodies the principal that “the duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict,” according to the ABA.
“But the biggest honor for me has always been the opportunity to serve this community,” said Warren.
Next November, Warren could run again. He was elected twice in Hillsborough County. But the Democrat says he wants the courts to give him his job back now.
“He has suspended me unlawfully, he’s done so many things that are such like Donald Trump, he just doesn’t have the same rap sheet that Donald Trump has because he hasn’t been there as long,” said Warren.
In about two weeks, DeSantis will be on the debate stage.
We don’t know if former President Trump will join him, but with at least one donor threatening to pull money from the governor’s campaign, it could be one of his last chances to turn things around.
“You think that your case could hurt him during the debate that’s coming?” asked Mahsa.
“I think it’ll be really interesting to see how he responds to accusations that he has willfully disregarded the law multiple times,” said Warren.
The judge who ruled DeSantis broke the law was appointed to the federal bench by former President Bill Clinton.
The governor’s office maintains DeSantis was doing his job.
They say Warren was suspended “from office he failed to serve.”
8 On Your Side talked with political analyst Tara Newsom about the impact of suspension on the GOP race.
Newsom says she believes the move does turn off voters by exposing DeSantis’ “politics of retribution.”