Ex-Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones plans to surrender


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – A Florida woman fired from her post as COVID-19 data curator said she would surrender to authorities on Sunday amid an investigation into allegations she had hacked the system of state emergency response.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Rebekah Jones had been under investigation since early November after someone illegally accessed the state’s health alert system, warning employees ” to speak up before another 17,000 people have died. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be part of it. Be a hero. “

Federal authorities raided his home in December, seizing his computers and other IT equipment.

Jones, who has been very critical of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on social media and questioned the validity of the state’s COVID data, said in a Twitter statement on Saturday that she would be surrendering shortly.

In the tweet, she said that “to protect my family from continued police violence and to show that I’m ready to fight whatever they throw at me, I turn into police in Florida on Sunday night. The governor will not win his war on science and free speech. He will not silence those who speak out.

It’s unclear what exact load she might face. Jones said on Twitter that “the warrant was based on a lie” and noted that a state agent told him that the arrest warrant had nothing to do with the December raid.

FDLE, the state’s leading crime-fighting agency, confirmed on Saturday that there was an active arrest warrant against her arrest, but a spokesperson for the agency said she could not provide further details until Jones surrenders.

The agency also confirmed it had “analyzed forensic evidence that fell within the scope of the December search warrant,” according to an emailed statement to The Associated Press. He did not elaborate on the evidence.

Jones was fired from her job in May after raising questions about Florida’s COVID-19 data. She had been reprimanded on several occasions and was ultimately fired for violating Ministry of Health policy by making public remarks on the information, state records show.

“FDLE found no evidence of a message sent last November to DOH staff telling them to ‘talk’ on one of the devices they took… However, the police found documents that I have received / downloaded from sources in the state, or something of that nature, ”she said in a series of Twitter statements.

DeSantis defended the state’s handling of the case. After the December raid, Jones filed a complaint with Leon County Circuit Court alleging state police violated his rights to free speech and due process.

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