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Florida Senate temporarily stops review of suspended state attorney

Andrew Warren accuses Gov. Ron DeSantis of violating his First Amendment rights because of his positions on abortion and transgender rights.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Senate has paused its review process of whether suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren should be reinstated or removed from office.

In a letter provided by Warren's spokesperson, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson told lawmakers that because the suspended prosecutor is suing Gov. Ron DeSantis over his order, their work is on hold.

"...the basis for any future Senate proceeding will be impacted by the current litigation," Simpson wrote, in part. "As such, I have directed that any Senate proceedings regarding Executive Order of Suspension 22-176 be held in abeyance until a final determination in this pending litigation has been rendered."

Warren filed suit Wednesday claiming that DeSantis violated his First Amendment rights by punishing him for voicing opinions that DeSantis opposes. The governor, through his order issued earlier this month, cited 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. 

DeSantis said Warren violated his oath of office and picked and chose the types of laws he enforced.

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

RELATED: Suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren vows to fight DeSantis' 'abuse of power'

Warren's lawsuit contends DeSantis did not identify any conduct involving criminal activity that would warrant a suspension. He told reporters Thursday that the governor is overturning the will of voters who twice selected him for office.

"The governor has attacked our democracy and it should worry everyone," Warren said. "If the governor's attempt to unilaterally overturn an election is allowed to stand, it threatens to undermine the integrity and outcome of elections across our state for years to come."

RELATED: Prosecutor Andrew Warren sues DeSantis over removal over abortion

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