TAMPA, Fla. — More than 24 hours since Governor Ron DeSantis made his announcement to suspend State Attorney Andrew Warren; there have been questions about what’s next.
Warren addressed his plans moving forward on Friday, saying he’s “going to fight this.”
“The prosecutor, State Attorney for this judicial circuit, Andrew Warren, has put himself publicly above the law,” said Governor DeSantis at a press conference Thursday.
An Executive Order signed by DeSantis laid out their case, “Warren’s declared refusal to prosecute abortion cases is alone sufficient to justify his suspension and removal for neglect of duty and incompetence” and that “Warren’s avowed refusal to enforce certain criminal laws on a non-individualized, category-wide basis of his choosing is a neglect of duty in violation of his oath….”
ABC Action News requested data from the Governor’s Office used to justify the suspension, along with specific cases. We have not yet received a response.
“Be clear: I’m going to fight this,” said Warren.
During a call Friday morning, Warren addressed his suspension. He said he doesn’t know how long the suspension will or could last. ABC Action News asked him what’s next and how he plans to move forward.
“I want to continue serving the people as I was elected to do. Unfortunately, yesterday, an armed deputy escorted me out of my office with no warning, not even a chance to read the order. This was something that wasn’t planned,” said Warren. “My concern over the past 24 hours has been making sure that the office continues doing the work that we’ve been doing for the past five and a half years to keep our community safe.”
Warren said in the coming days; they’ll be exploring their legal options to challenge this.
“He’s not just trying to suspend an elected official. He’s trying to overthrow democracy in Hillsborough County,” said Warren.
In the interim, the Governor appointed Susan Lopez as Acting State Attorney.
“She’s very familiar with how it operates,” said Janae Thomas. “Hopefully, the transition is seamless.”
Thomas is an attorney who’s previously worked with both Warren and Lopez. She weighed in about the transition for the office and what the people of Hillsborough County should know.
“The State Attorney’s Office has been functioning for a long time, and I’ve worked beside many of those individuals, including Ms. Lopez, and I think that they should be confident that the work that is supposed to be getting done in the State Attorney’s Office is still going to happen,” said Thomas.
The State Attorney’s Office tells ABC Action News while State Attorney Lopez is acclimating to her new role, she will be available to the media in the coming days.