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CFTOD Asks Judge to Ignore Recent Ruling That Governor DeSantis Retaliated Against Andrew Warren for Exercising His First Amendment Rights

Florida - Thursday January 25, 2024: Walt Disney World News Today reports that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) has filed a new document asking the Judge in Disney’s federal lawsuit against them to ignore a recent appeals court decision that found that Governor DeSantis retaliated against suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren for exercising his First Amendment rights.

The story in WDW Today cites the Warren v. DeSantis case in a Notice of Supplemental Authority filed by Disney earlier this month in which Warren claimed DeSantis fired him after he expressed First Amendment-protected speech by signing a statement, along with other prosecutors nationwide, saying he would not pursue criminal charges against seekers or providers of abortion or gender transition treatments.

On January 10th, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Georgia vacated the opinion of Florida Northern District Court Judge Judge Robert Hinkle who found that the federal court had no power to interfere with state law, even though Judge Hinkle also concluded that the governor had violated warren's First Amendment rights when he suspended Warren from office in August of 2022. 

In reaction to that ruling, lawyers for the DeSantis appointed Tourism Oversight District Board argue that the appeals court decision questions “one official’s unilateral action” (DeSantis’ firing of Warren), but Disney’s federal lawsuit concerns laws created by “a majority of lawmakers in both houses of the Florida Legislature.”

CFTOD asks the judge to ignore the appeals ruling because it “has no effect on this case.”

Governor DeSantis filed a Motion to Dismiss the federal lawsuit in November and the judge has not yet made a decision regarding the Motion.

CFTOD also recently filed a response to Disney’s Motion to Compel Discovery in their state lawsuit against the entertainment giant. The District claims they do not need to produce more documents requested by Disney because they are privileged.