By The Vanguard Staff
TAMPA, FL – A U.S. district judge presiding over a federal lawsuit here in the case of Andrew Warren—who was suspended from his Hillsborough County state attorney job by Gov. Ron DeSantis because of, allegedly, Warren’s progressive opinion about abortion—warned the governor’s lawyers to think carefully about filing a motion to exclude the governor from testifying.
According to news reports this past Monday, Warren’s lawyers want to quiz DeSantis as to exactly why he suspended Warren. And U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle told the governor’s lawyers that if they want to prevent him or members of his staff from testifying, they should file a formal request as soon as possible.
“Motivation is a critical issue here,” Hinkle said. “And if you really want to not be able to provide the testimony from the people that know the most about why this was really done, think about how that affects your case.”
TampaBay.com said the judge also told Warren’s lawyers to be careful regarding about taking off “potentially their best witnesses off the table,” and “whether they would want to try to force that testimony.”
“I have no idea what’s the best strategic answer for each of the two sides,” the judge said. “That’s up to you. But think about it.”
Warren’s lawyers reportedly want to depose the governor and call him to the stand. DeSantis’ lawyers say they’ll resist that.
The trial is Nov. 29. DeSantis suspended Warren from office Aug. 4, “accusing the Hillsborough state attorney of failing to enforce state laws,” citing Warren’s signing of a statement with other elected U.S. prosecutors stating they won’t prosecute cases related to abortion or transgender health care. The governor also reportedly didn’t like Warren’s decisions about refusing to prosecute minor misdemeanors.
Warren is suing DeSantis, alleging that as a progressive Democrat, his “suspension was political retaliation by the conservative Republican governor and a violation of his right to free speech,” according to a story in TampaBay.com.
DeSantis’ former spokesperson Christina Pushaw and Larry Keefe, the governor’s public safety czar were to be deposed this week.
In August, when DeSantis was asked whether it was appropriate to remove an elected official, he suggested Warren’s campaign support came from “wealthy progressives hoping to change the criminal justice system,” said TampaBay.com.