Suspended Florida State Prosecutor Fights For Reinstatement, Alleging Gov. DeSantis’ Political Motives

Attorney Laura Ferguson said Monique Worrell was simply doing her job to the best of her ability.

Monique Worrell, the Florida state prosecutor who was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis, is fighting to get her job back.

Before the Florida Supreme Court, Worrell’s attorney, Laura Ferguson, argued that the Republican governor exceeded his authority when he suspended her from her elected post, the Associated Press reports. The Democratic DA was removed after DeSantis claimed she was too lenient in how she prosecuted crimes in her central Florida district, which includes Orlando. According to the state constitution, elected official suspension can only occur for reasons of egregious misconduct.

Ferguson said her client was simply doing her job to the best of her ability.

“It is the voters, not the governor, to whom Ms. Worrell is accountable,” she argued.

Worrell contends that her suspension is invalid and believes she was removed for the political motivations of the governor, who is currently campaigning for the Oval Office in 2024. But DeSantis’ lawyer, Jeffrey DeSousa, claims Worrell’s suspension is no one’s fault but her own. DeSousa says her history of failing to prosecute crimes committed by minors and not seeking mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes endangers the residents in her district.

An investigation into Worrell’s practices started in early 2023, after a 19-year-old gunman was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons, Nathacha Augustin, and T’yonna Major, 9. The child’s mother and a Spectrum News 13 photographer were also shot. General counsel from the DeSantis administration sent Worrell a memo claiming she’d failed to hold the gunman, Keith Moses, accountable for crimes allegedly committed prior to the shootings, including a traffic stop for cannabis possession in November 2021.

After the hearing, Worrell stood with numerous supporters, and said she was hopeful the court would side with her. 

“Our votes have been stolen, our justice has been killed and our democracy is being destroyed,” Worrell said, according to Politico. She continued to describe DeSantis’ actions as “authoritarian” and said the justices siding with the governor “will set the precedent whether or not the governor can single-handedly remove every Democrat in this state.”

Worrell isn’t the only Democratic legal rep being questioned by the controversial governor. State Attorney Andrew Warren was removed in 2022 after announcing he wouldn’t press criminal charges against persons seeking abortions or medical providers of gender-transition treatments.

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