News and Commentary

Rebekah Jones, Who Falsely Claimed Florida Altered COVID Death Totals, Has Falsely Claimed Gov. DeSantis’ Press Secretary Faced Criminal Charges
In this photo illustration the Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard is seen displayed on a computer screen.
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The woman who falsely claimed Florida, under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, was altering its COVID-19 data has for months claimed that DeSantis’ press secretary faced serious criminal charges. That, too, has been found false.

Rebekah Jones, who became a liberal media darling after claiming she was ordered to change Florida’s COVID-19 data, tried to make news by insisting DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, had violated a restraining order and was facing criminal charges. As National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke explained, this was false. The situation is complicated, but Cooke explained “the gist”:

[A]ngered by Pushaw writing a piece about her lies, Jones took out an interim restraining order against Pushaw in Maryland, and, before that order had even been reviewed by the courts, filed a second claim alleging that it had been violated. Because the grounds for the original order were utterly ridiculous, the court dismissed it for lack of evidence, but, for long and boring bureaucratic reasons, it didn’t dismiss the secondary claim — even though that claim had been rendered moot by the dismissal of the order on which it was based (and was set to drop off the docket the moment it was addressed). Aware that most people wouldn’t understand the minute details of all this, Rebekah Jones then spent months pretending that there was an open criminal charge against Pushaw — which, of course, there was not.

On Friday, the District Court of Maryland dismissed the secondary case because Pushaw couldn’t violate a restraining order that was never in place. In addition, Cooke reported, Pushaw never even knew Jones had tried to take out the restraining order against her.

In an attempt to save the situation, Jones apparently told someone named Grant Stern via text that the hearing on Friday was going to consist of Pushaw entering into a deferred prosecution agreement.

“Tomorrow is just a status hearing for Pushaw. They are making a deal with her for deferred prosecution,” Jones reportedly told Stern. “This is something that the state attorney’s representative told me.”

Cooke called the director of public affairs for the Montgomery County State’s Attorneys Office, who confirmed that none of what Jones said about the situation is true. Pushaw had never been accused by the state of Maryland for “criminally violating a Maryland court order.” No criminal charges whatsoever had been filed against Pushaw and Pushaw had not agreed to any “plea deal” or “deferred prosecution” agreement.

This is simply the latest in Jones’ personal vendetta against DeSantis and his administration. Cooke previously debunked Jones’ entire claim to have been ordered to alter Florida COVID-19 data by showing that she merely managed the dashboard. She was given information to input and was never provided raw data.

After this was revealed, Jones insisted she had never claimed she was asked to delete Florida COVID-19 death data, even though she has claimed that specifically in the past.

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