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Warren, DeSantis await future ruling from judge in lawsuit

Warren alleged his removal was based on his personal political positions on abortion and transgender rights, which violated his First Amendment rights.

TAMPA, Fla. — A judge says he will issue a ruling in the "future" for the lawsuit between suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Following three days of trial, both sides were able to present their side of the case before wrapping up Thursday.

Warren issued a statement following day three of the trial. 

"We were really excited to have the opportunity to have our case heard in court," Warren said in a statement. "A trial is a search for the truth. And over the past three days, everyone has had the opportunity to hear the truth.

"Like all of you, and like countless people across the State of Florida, I look forward to the judge’s decision."

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle did not specify a future date for the ruling.

The trial began earlier this week in Tallahassee. On Wednesday, Warren and his legal team rested their side of the case following testimony from DeSantis' Public Safety Czar Larry Keefe, who was largely behind the effort to remove Warren from office, and Taryn Fenske, DeSantis' communications director. 

DeSantis' legal team wrapped up its side of the lawsuit Thursday finally leaving the case in the judge's hands after three days of the trial.

Warren, suspended by DeSantis back in August, opened his federal civil trial against the governor Tuesday with testimony that alleged his removal was based on his personal political positions on abortion and transgender rights.

By suspending him over these positions, DeSantis violated his First Amendment rights, Warren's lawsuit claims. 

When DeSantis suspended Warren, he claimed the suspension was due to a "neglect of duty" and that Warren "demonstrated his incompetence and willful defiance of his duty" as early as 2021. DeSantis' order cited article four, section seven of the Florida Constitution in allowing him to suspend Warren.

The order cites joint statements Warren issued on topics including transition-related health care for transgender youth, abortion rights and his instituting policies against prosecuting certain "criminal violations" as reasons for his suspension. 

"When you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty," DeSantis said in August.

For the trial, DeSantis' lawyers have said Warren cannot bring a free speech case because his signing of the statements amounted to official prosecutorial positions.  

Warren, a Democrat twice elected to his post as state attorney in Hillsborough County, has maintained his suspension is a political stunt put on by DeSantis, who is a potential 2024 presidential candidate. 

Previous reporting from 10 Tampa Bay and the Associated Press contributed to this article. 

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