Former Florida data analyst Rebekah Jones drops civil claim

Former Florida Department of Health data analyst Rebekah Jones has dropped a civil lawsuit alleging state agents violated her rights when they searched her home and took away computer equipment in December.

Jones’ attorneys filed a notice last week in federal court in Tallahassee, saying she was dismissing the lawsuit “without prejudice”, meaning it could be re-filed.

Jones has gained national attention because of his accusations that Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration manipulated data on the COVID-19 pandemic. She was fired last year and set up a competing COVID-19 online dashboard to display data on the virus.

The FDLE conducted the research after an investigation allegedly linked his home address to a November 10 message sent to an internal multi-user account at the Ministry of Health.

Jones, who has denied being responsible for the post, surrendered last month on an arrest warrant claiming she “was responsible for unauthorized access and several attempted unauthorized access to FDOH systems.”

The criminal case is separate from the civil lawsuit, which was filed in December in Leon County and subsequently transferred to federal court.

The civil lawsuit argued that FDLE agents violated Jones’ First Amendment rights and due process rights and conducted an illegal search and seizure when they searched his home.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor issued an order on Saturday stating that the dismissal has not been finalized due to an outstanding question as to whether each party will bear their own costs and legal fees.

Sean N. Ayres