TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis fired off another thinly veiled shot at a state attorney many believe is failing to prosecute violent criminals, just days after she accused him of leading a “witch hunt.”
Speaking at a press conference in Titusville, DeSantis addressed rumors that he intended to remove Soros-backed Orange County State Attorney Monique Worrell from her post.
“I think she was making rummagings [sic] about that,” he told reporters. “If she thought somehow she was going to be removed, why is she thinking that? Is she doing something that deserves removal?”
The governor smiled as he asked the rhetorical question. DeSantis has previously asserted that Worrell “thinks you don’t prosecute people, and that’s the way you somehow have a better community.”
The governor made national headlines after he suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren in August 2022 for “putting himself publicly above the law.” Media reports indicated DeSantis has considered doing the same to Worrell.
“SOFT ON CRIME”
In February, U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) pointed the finger at Worrell’s “leftist, soft-on-crime” approach as an enabling factor behind a deadly shooting in Pine Hills allegedly perpetrated by Kevin Moses – a 19-year-old with a lengthy criminal record.
“Every prosecutor that chose to give this young criminal a pass should be fired TODAY,” Scott wrote in a statement. “State Attorney Worrell must immediately account for how her office failed to protect the community from a violent criminal and outline what she's changing to ensure it doesn't happen again.”
On February 28, the governor ordered Morell’s office to turn over documentation related to its handling of Moses.
Last month, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) found that the ninth judicial circuit – led by Worrell – had the worst processing time for juveniles.
Speaking at the Marion County NAACP Freedom Fund gala on Friday evening, Morell said she believes she’s the victim of a “witch hunt.”
Worrell claims that a Republican state committeewoman requested information on Friday related to human trafficking cases that her office had dropped.
“She said she needed it for an event with the governor on Monday and then went on to talk about how these prosecutors across the state are not following the law,” Worrell said, according to the Ocala Gazette. “And you know, they need to be stopped or something along those lines.”
Worrell defended her office’s handling of the previous Moses arrests, claiming she presided over only one of his past cases. She told the paper that she has advocated for “reforming laws that would give the juvenile system more teeth.”
Worrell also issued a statement on Friday that accused DeSantis of seeking to “build and justify a baseless case against a prosecutor he simply disagrees with politically.”