The fallout from Ron DeathSantis’ fascist raid of Rebekah Jones’ home continues here in Florida. Today, Republican lawyer Ron Filipkowski resigned in protest from his appointment to the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) by DeathSantis after reviewing the search warrant affidavit the state used to seize computers and phones from American hero Rebekah Jones. Filipkowski is a Marine veteran, former state and federal prosecutor, and a lifelong Republican. As the Tampa Bay Times reports:
“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.”
Filipkowski has served on the JNC for 10 years. He was twice appointed by icky former Gov. Rick Scott and once by super-icky current Gov. DeathSantis. He called DeathSantis’ handling of the pandemic “reckless and irresponsible.”
After reading about the raid, Filipkowski complained to a friend, a Trump supporter, that something didn’t seem right. His friend suggested that he read the search warrant affadavit filed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Alarm bells went off.
“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.”
He compared her situation to the legal doctrine called necessity, which allows someone to break the law to prevent a more serious harm. “If what she did is illegal, it pales in comparison to the harm she was trying to prevent.”
Although Filipkowski appears to be an active and lifelong Republican, he is also a never Trumper. But up until now he’s kept relatively quiet. But he says he was inspired to speak out in a more public and vocal way by former Trump staff members like Olivia Troye.
Even though Filipkowski has complained in the past about how DeathSantis has handled COVID-19, up until now he has been able to compartmentalize that from his work for the JNC. That was then.
“But this is different because now what you’re doing is using police powers. 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. "
He said he hoped his resignation “in my own little way 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.”
I’m not one to throw a parade for Republicans who decide to do what is decent, moral and right. But that’s in such short supply these days, especially here in Florida, and people’s lives are at stake so I’ll give my thanks to Ron Filipkowski.
- Many are wondering what kind of judge would approve such a warrant? Well, the judge who signed the warrant is Second Circuit Court Judge Joshua Hawkes. He was appointed by DeathSantis just this past September. As noted by jqjacobs in the comments, Jones sent out a tweet noting that Hawkins was sworn in less than a month before he signed the warrant; he’s a civil court judge, not a criminal court judge; and this was one of his first actions as a judge.
- Dem Congressman Charlie Crist has spoken out against the raid, saying “it looks like an act of retaliation or an attempt to silence Ms. Jones for her critiques of the state’s COVID-19 response,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
- In that same Tampa Bay Times article, Stewart Baker, former general counsel for the NSA, calls the state’s case weak: “It is a hacking statute that they’re invoking here, but this is about as much hacking as using an expired ID to get back into the place where you used to work is breaking in.”