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Ousted Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren argues in federal court to be reinstated

Andrew Warren on the steps of the courthouse
Catalyst Communications Group
Andrew Warren speaks on the steps of the Montgomery, Ala. courthouse

Andrew Warren's attorneys argued in a federal appeals court in Alabama that a federal judge has the power to have him reinstated.

Attorneys for ousted Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren argued before a federal appeals court Tuesday that he should be reinstated.

Warren was suspended by Governor Ron DeSantis in August for saying he would not enforce some state laws regarding abortion or transgender health care.

A federal judge ruled in Warren's behalf earlier this year. But he said he did not have the authority to reinstate him.

Attorney David O’Neil represented Warren before a three-judge panel in Alabama.

"No witness at trial testifed that the governor was motivated by a case-based disagreement with what Mr. Warren did," O'Neil argued before the appeals court. "The district court found, to this day, the governor has not been able to identify a single case in which Mr. Warren failed to exercise his discretion appropriately."

Attorneys for DeSantis said Warren was shirking his duty by failing to enforce state laws.

Warren said the federal judge does have the authority to have him reinstated. He spoke on the steps of the Alabama courthouse.

"I believe with every fiber of my being in fighting for our freedoms, our democracy and the rule of law, and that's what this fight is about," he said after the hearing. "From the beginning, I believe that the law is on our side, and we hope that the court will see it this way."

There's no timetable for when a ruling is expected.

Warren is also petitioning the Florida Supreme Court for reinstatement through a separate lawsuit. In April, attorneys for DeSantis urged the Florida Supreme Court to toss out the petition, arguing the suspension was justified.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.