'Reckless and irresponsible': GOP lawyer resigns from Florida government after raid on data analyst's home
A Republican lawyer in Sarasota, Fla. who was appointed three times to serve the state's Judicial Nominating Commission cut ties with the state over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Tampa Bay, Ron Filipkowski — a lifelong Republican and Marine veteran who also worked as a state and local prosecutor and was appointed to the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission by the sitting Florida governor — submitted his resignation on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 8. His decision came after reviewing the search warrant affidavit from the state seeking to raid the home of Rebekah Jones, former Department of Health data analyst.
Since her departure from the state department, Jones has been running an alternative web platform to report COVID-19 data. She was also suspected of issuing a warning to "Department of Health messaging system urging people to "Be a hero. Speak out before it's too late." The state's search warrant sought to seize electronic devices from Jones' home.
According to Filipowski, DeSantis' leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic is "reckless and irresponsible."
"The recent events regarding public access to truthful data on the pandemic, and the specific treatment of Rebekah Jones has made the issue a legal one rather than just medical,'' he wrote in a letter to the governor's general counsel. "...I no longer wish to serve the current government of Florida in any capacity."
"What's the crime? The crime is hacking into an email server to tell people to tell the truth?,'' he said. "That's not a horrible crime, if it's a crime at all."
"Even though I was never happy with the way that DeSantis handled COVID, that is still separate and distinct from what I do on the JNC,'' he said.
"But this is different because now what you're doing is using police powers," Filipowski said. "You're using law enforcement in intimidating people who are trying to tell the truth and now we are crossing over to my whole life as a prosecutor, employer, crusader. This is wrong. He is taking it to a different level."
Filipowski hopes his resignation "could draw some more attention to it" and "to the plight of the people of Florida who I feel are not being told the truth about COVID."