TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren has asked a federal court to strike down his suspension.
On Wednesday morning, Warren filed a lawsuit, asking the court to reverse his “illegal suspension by Gov. Ron DeSantis.”
DeSantis suspended Warren earlier this month, accusing him of incompetence and neglect of duty. The move came after Warren stated he would not enforce laws that restrict abortion or pursue action against doctors providing gender-affirming care.
“Andrew Warren has put himself publicly above the law,” the governor said at a news conference announcing the suspension.
Warren was elected twice by voters in the Tampa area, in 2016 and 2020.
“Our crime rate has gone down every year since I’ve been in office, it’s down 30%,” Warren told 8 On Your Side’s Mahsa Saedi. “In fact, it’s lower than some of those surrounding counties where the sheriff’s moseyed on into Hillsborough to join the governor at his press conference.”
Warren’s lawsuit contends the suspension violates his First Amendment rights.
“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution requires that elected officials ‘be given the widest latitude to express their views on issues of policy,’” the suit states. “Reaffirming that truth, the U.S. Supreme Court recently explained that the First Amendment ‘prohibits government officials from subjecting individuals to ‘retaliatory actions’ after the fact for having engaged in protected speech.’”
“This is about the attempted overthrow of democracy in Florida,” Warren stated at a news conference in Tampa Wednesday.
The suit challenges the suspension on another ground. DeSantis’ order stated warren was incompetent and neglected his duty.
Warren’s attorneys are now asking the U.S. District Court to review Florida’s constitution and define those terms.
Tampa Attorney Gregg Thomas has been working First Amendment cases for more than 40 years.
Thomas says he believes Warren will get his job back.
“How fast could Warren be reinstated?” asked Investigator Mahsa Saeidi.
“I would expect the court to proceed in the next six weeks with the decision,” said Thomas.
Regardless of what the District Court decides, Thomas says this case will be appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.