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DeSantis Suffers Series of Legal Setbacks, Up Next: Disney

DeSantis Suffers Series of Legal Setbacks Up Next: Disney
Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

At the outset of his campaign for the Republican nomination for President, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis set himself as the pillar of freedom. He claimed that Florida was the state where “woke” went to die and that Floridians would be free to make medical decisions for themselves without government mandates. But after suffering a series of legal setbacks in October, Governor DeSantis may be about to see all the things he considers his biggest successes come crashing down, including his fight with the Walt Disney Company.

Florida Lawyer Calls DeSantis' Case 'Fairy Tales and Pixie Dust'

Credit: Disney/ Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Related: Florida Lawyer Calls DeSantis Defense “Pixie Dust and Fairy Tales”

The bad news for the Florida governor started last week when the state was forced to settle a lawsuit with Democratic groups, media outlets, and open government advocates over the state’s lack of reporting COVID-related cases, deaths, and vaccinations. The state must pay the plaintiff’s legal bills of $152,000 and resume reporting of COVID-related data.

The state only chose to settle the lawsuit after the Court ordered it to produce documents containing Covid data after the health department said that those documents did not exist.

Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democratic former state congressman who filed the lawsuit against the Florida health department, told The Guardian: 

The DeSantis administration was caught red-handed lying about the existence of these public records in court, repeatedly claiming that the records we were requesting didn’t exist, then saying even if they did exist, they would not share them because they were somehow exempt

DeSantis responds to billionaire donor criticism over Disney

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Related: DeSantis/Florida Said Disney’s Special District Was Corrupt, So Why is its Biggest Rival Getting One? 

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis suffered a second legal blow this week when the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed a ruling by District Judge Gregory Presnell that Florida’s Anti-Drag show law wasn’t sufficiently narrowed to protect the First Amendment. Lawyers for the state wanted the injunction against the law lifted while the case was being heard in Federal Court, but the Court denied that request.

Those legal blows to Governor DeSantis could be a precursor of what will come later this month. DeSantis’ legal team has asked United States District Judge Allen Winsor to toss out the case brought by the Walt Disney Company against him. The Judge gave Disney until the end of the month to respond to the request from the governor.

Disney has accused the governor of violating its First Amendment rights when he stripped Disney World of the Reedy Creek Improvement District and replaced it with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. Disney claims that this was government retaliation for speaking out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, known by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

DeSantis welcomes Disney's surrender

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

If the past is precedent, Judge Winsor will likely allow the case against DeSantis to continue. Besides his legal issues, Governor DeSantis also finds himself slipping in the polls. He has dropped even further behind former president Donald Trump nationwide and has fallen to third place in New Hampshire behind former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. DeSantis has also lost his billionaire allies as his campaign cash dries up. 

While DeSantis is running for President, Florida is footing the bill for his legal battles. This summer, the Guardian reported that the state has paid $16.7 million in legal fees over the governor’s questionable laws. This does not include the millions the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District is paying in its fight with Walt Disney World. The Board of DeSantis appointees has already spent $2 million and has budgeted another $4.5 million for the next fiscal year.

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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