Suspended Hillsborough State Attorney says he could be back in office in weeks

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Hillsborough County could have its elected State Attorney back in a matter of weeks the suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren said Friday in a release asking for supporters’ help and announcing an “expedited timeline” for resolving his suspension.

Warren filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to suspend him from the office to which he was elected twice. The administration’s answer to that suit is due next week, on Sept. 2. Then, oral arguments are set to start Sept. 19 in U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, according to an order signed by Judge Robert Hinkle, an appointee of President Bill Clinton.

“The expedited process will see all paperwork and hearings completed by Sept. 20, with a ruling expected soon afterward,” a news release from Warren’s camp says.

Warren is asking Judge Hinkle to rescind what he calls DeSantis’ illegal order and restore him to office.

It’s the latest development in a case that’s made national headlines starting Aug. 4 when DeSantis announced that he was suspending Warren because of his signature on a pledge not to prosecute women for seeking abortions beyond the 15 weeks of pregnancy which recent legislation prohibits, although the law’s constitutionality is under appeal.

 DeSantis also took issue with Warren’s statements about not prosecuting laws that prohibit gender-affirming care for minors, although no laws against it have yet been passed.

The news release with the timeline that both sides have agreed to also came with a plea from the Warren camp for donations to help him continue the fight against what Warren has described as an “overthrow of democracy.”

“I didn’t exactly have a piggy bank sitting on my dresser labeled, ‘In case Ron DeSantis illegally suspends me.’ “ Warren said, in a prepared statement. “Meanwhile, he’s bankrolling his attempt to overturn the will of the voters with your taxpayer dollars.”

The Governor’s office did not respond to an inquiry about the release.

Supporters were originally directed to help Warren out with donations to a political committee, Safer Stronger Florida. Records show that the committee’s donations jumped the next day after Warren’s suspension — its best hauls since the committee started in 2017.

Since DeSantis had his press conference — less than a month ago — the committee has collected about $47,000 from 738 donors around the country, although most of them are from the Tampa area.

Aug. 14, however, Warren’s camp also started raising funds for a separate legal fund on Aug. 14 for which the paperwork was signed Aug. 10.

“Join this fight today,” the legal fund’s website urges donors.

Donations to the fund that are more than $100 will be reported on Warren’s quarterly gift disclosure form, required of elected officials like him. Because he’s still an elected official.

“This case is about so much more than my job — it’s about democracy— making it clear that no governor can simply overturn an election because he doesn’t agree with who won.” Warren said.

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