TAMPA, Fla. — The chief communications officer for the Hillsborough County state attorney's office says she was "unlawfully" fired from her job one week after Andrew Warren was suspended from his position as state attorney by Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to a release.
Melanie Snow-Waxler alleges that soon after Susan Lopez, DeSantis' appointee for acting state attorney for the 13th judicial district, assumed the position, she was told to report to Fred Piccolo, who used to serve as DeSantis' communication director.
Once that happened, Snow-Waxler said she was told she couldn't send communications, interact with media, or attend meetings without being expressly told to do so.
The release said on Aug. 12 Snow-Waxler was told she could resign and receive pay through the end of the month; however if she didn't resign she would be fired immediately.
The release stated in part, "this illegal firing is part of a troubling pattern of retaliation."
“I had only begun my job with the State Attorney’s Office in May. This was an exciting opportunity for me as I have always believed in criminal justice reform," Snow-Waxler said in a statement. "My goal was ensuring that the residents of Hillsborough County received timely, truthful information about the actions of the State Attorney to keep our community safe and pursue justice. I will continue to provide truthful information to the public. I will fight for justice.”
10 Tampa Bay has reached out to the governor's office for comment. We are waiting to hear back.
Warren, who was elected twice as a Democratic state attorney for Florida's 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, was suspended on Aug. 4 for what DeSantis described as a "neglect of duty."
Warren, speaking to 10 Tampa Bay's Eric Glasser, said he plans to fight his suspension in court and, if necessary, in the Florida Senate.