Florida GOP official resigns in protest over raid of COVID data scientist: 'I couldn't believe it'

·2 min read

Lifelong Republican Ron Filipkowski, who resigned on Tuesday from his position as vice chairman of the 12th Circuit Judicial Nomination Committee (JNC) in Florida, appeared on Cuomo Prime Time Tuesday night and explained the decision.

A day earlier, agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) raided the home of Rebekah Jones, a data scientist who was fired from the Florida Department of Health in May following a dispute with superiors over properly reporting COVID-19 data.

Filipkowski agreed with the assertion Jones made on Monday night that the raid was an attempt by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to intimidate her and other scientists, and he claimed that the raid wasn’t warranted.

“I watched the video when she tweeted it out right after the incident happened, and I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Filipkowski said, later adding, “I saw what was happening and I couldn’t believe it. Then I read the search warrant, and I’m a criminal lawyer, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in the search warrant about how broad it was, about what they were alleging as a supposed crime.”

Jones has long been a thorn in the governor’s side, accusing him of manipulating COVID data in the state, and even building her own COVID-19 dashboard. Filipkowski, who was appointed to the position on the JNC by former Gov. Rick Scott and then again by DeSantis, said the last straw was when a spokesman for the governor claimed he had no prior knowledge of the raid.

“I can tell you that she is not his favorite person,” Filipkowski said. “So FDLE has to know when they’re going to do a raid on her like this, it’s gonna make news. It’s gonna be big news. So the idea that a small law-enforcement agency like FDLE, which reports directly to the governor, would do a raid like this on a high-profile person without clearing it through the governor’s office, there’s just no way.”

Even before Jones went public with her accusations against DeSantis, the governor had been suspected of misleading the public about COVID-19, and according to Filipkowski, those suspicions are correct.

“Do you believe that your governor has been dishonest about the COVID realities in your state?” Chris Cuomo asked. “Yeah, absolutely,” Filipkowski answered. “No question about it.”

Cuomo Prime Time airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on CNN.

Watch Rebekah Jones say that the raid on her home was an attempt by Gov. DeSantis to intimidate scientists:

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