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Disney Accuses DeSantis and Allies of Withholding Evidence

Central Florida finally fighting DeSantis for Disney
Ron DeSantis and Donald Duck. Credit: Disney/ Gage Skidmore, Flickr

The Walt Disney Company made a significant change to its lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District on Friday in Federal Court, narrowing the scope of the suit and accusing DeSantis and his allies of withholding evidence from Disney.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis/ EPCOT

Credit: Disney/Flickr

After suffering a setback in State Court, Disney decided to amend its Federal lawsuit to narrow the focus specifically on Governor DeSantis’ efforts to punish Disney for speaking out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, known by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Disney removed the parts of the lawsuit that dealt with the development agreements that the company struck with the Reedy Creek Improvement District before its dissolution. Instead, Disney’s case focuses on the accusation that DeSantis and his allies in the Florida Legislature violated Disney’s First Amendment Rights.

But the most interesting development Friday was Disney’s accusations that DeSantis and his allies were withholding evidence from the company. Lawyers representing Disney told Judge Allen Winsor that Governor DeSantis and six state entities had not complied with a public records request filed in May. Disney seeks emails, text messages, Signal messages, and WhatsApp messages on any device with the keywords “Disney” or “mouse.”

Mickey Mouse and Ron DeSantis

Credit: Disney/ Flickr

Disney sent letters to Gov Ron DeSantis and the six state entities this week requesting those records be provided to Disney’s lawyers by September 6. The letter stated that if Disney did not receive those records, it would sue under Florida’s Public Records Act.

State Judge Margaret Schreiber ruled that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s lawsuit against Disney should move forward and not wait for the outcome of the Federal lawsuit. The CFTOD sued Disney to void any deals with the Reedy Creek board. In retaliation, Disney sued the Board and Florida Gov Ron DeSantis in State Court seeking damages.

Ron DeSantis

Credit: ABC

The narrowing of Disney’s lawsuit would allow the state case to cover the validity of the development agreements with the Boards. In contrast, the federal case will protect Disney’s First Amendment Rights and DeSantis’ alleged retaliation.

While this case will be heard in the Northern District of Florida, it will most likely end up in the Supreme Court, as the Walt Disney Company fights to show that its Constitutional Rights were violated.

September 6 will be an exciting day. Will the Florida Governor turn over his emails, or will Disney have another lawsuit on its hands?

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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