Warren’s disregard for his duty to enforce state laws, including a pledge not to prosecute people receiving an abortion or their doctors performing them.
At a news conference flanked by police from around Tampa Bay, DeSantis said Warren had “put himself publicly above the law” by signing letters saying he would not enforce laws prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors or laws limiting abortion.
Under a clause in the state Constitution, DeSantis suspended Warren, effectively firing him.
The suspension, which stunned observers, removed one of the state’s most outspoken prosecutors. Warren, a Democrat, has been a frequent critic of DeSantis, a Republican. He called the 2021 “anti-riot” legislation that DeSantis championed a misguided “solution in search of a problem.” He’s also questioned the need for an election security force that DeSantis has helped create.
On Thursday morning, Warren was escorted out of his office. Later, at an afternoon news conference in the Shumaker law firm’s downtown Tampa office, Warren struck a defiant tone.
“I’m still the duly elected state attorney for Hillsborough County,” he said. Asked if he thinks this was his last act as a public official, he said, simply, “no.”
Warren said he still had not seen the governor’s order and did not say whether he would challenge the action.
He called the governor’s criticisms “pure conjecture and lies,” and alluded to DeSantis having presidential ambitions.
“The governor is trying to overthrow the results of a fair and free election, two of them,” he said. “People need to understand, this isn’t the governor trying to suspend one elected official. This is the governor trying to overthrow democracy here in Hillsborough County.”
He insisted he was “still the duly elected state attorney for Hillsborough County” and accused DeSantis of “trying to overthrow democracy here in Hillsborough County.”
He said he hasn’t had any cases relating to abortion or gender-affirming care brought to his office, and if he did, he would evaluate them on the merits.
He noted that the 15-week abortion ban that DeSantis signed into law this year violated the Florida Supreme Court’s longstanding precedent establishing that Florida’s constitutional right to privacy included the right to an abortion. A judge affirmed that the law violated the constitution, and the Florida Supreme Court has yet to hear the case.