Florida state attorney claims suspension is ‘retaliation’ against counties DeSantis lost

The Florida state attorney who was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Wednesday accused the governor of removing her and other Democratic officials in the state as “retaliation” against the counties that didn’t vote for him.

DeSantis suspended Democratic State Attorney Monique Worrell, alleging that her administration of justice in Florida’s 9th Judicial District has been “clearly and fundamentally derelict so as to constitute both neglect of duty and incompetence.”

Worrell pushed back on the allegations Wednesday night, accusing DeSantis of repeatedly targeting Democratic officials in Florida. 

The governor suspended another Democratic state attorney, Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, last year for “neglect of duty” after Warren refused to enforce bans on abortion and transgender surgeries. 

“I believe that the governor wants to make the entire state of Florida a red state and that he wants to remove the will of any Democratic voters,” Worrell said on Wednesday night. “And this is, I believe, retaliation for the counties where he did not win.”

“We’re seeing spiteful, petty behavior from our highest elected official in the state of Florida,” she added. “And he is trying to harm the constituents of Orange County, Osceola County, Hillsborough County … He is trying to harm the people who live in counties that didn’t support him.”

Worrell also responded on Wednesday night to the recent shooting of two Orlando police officers, which Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) cited as an example of her dereliction of duty.

Moody pointed to Worrell’s decision not to file a motion for pretrial detention of the shooting suspect, who was awaiting trial in a separate case.

However, the Democratic state attorney argued that pretrial detention is the result of a complicated balancing process that involves various entities.

“The criminal legal system is a collaboration of efforts, right. It’s not just the state attorney’s office,” she said. “It’s the state attorney’s office. It’s law enforcement. It’s the judiciary. It’s the defense bar. There are multiple entities that make up the criminal legal system.”

“None of us in this system have a crystal ball that we can determine whether or not an individual has a potential for future dangerousness,” Worrell added. “And because of that, we make the best decisions that we can with the information that we are given.”

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