A Florida prosecutor who found herself in .
“The reason that was given by the governor’s office at that time for not removing me is because they didn’t have a reason,” Worrell told The Daily Beast on Friday. “Well, they’ve been trying to find one ever since then.”
According to Worrell, the letter from DeSantis’ office was nothing more than a factless “fishing expedition.” Moses’ sealed juvenile cases, she said, were handled by others, but not mishandled.
“While it can certainly be criticized, it’s not something that is a basis of some sort of illegal activity on behalf of my office,” she said.
Despite Mina complaining that Moses was never convicted for his acts as a juvenile, she said, no juvenile technically gets a “conviction,” and anyone speaking about a juvenile’s prior misdemeanors is violating Florida law.
And, as the Tampa Bay Times reported on Thursday, the sheriff’s office has admitted it was them who failed to test DNA samples on a gun found in Moses’ only previous arrest as an adult.
The case eventually presented to her from that arrest, of 4.6 grams of marijuana possession, she could not prosecute, she said.
The mudslinging in a case of shared responsibility, she claimed, was a distraction.
“The conversation needs to be around: what can we do to reduce the likelihood that this will ever happen again?” she told The Daily Beast.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department didn’t not respond to most of The Daily Beast’s request for comment about Worrell’s claims. However, a spokesperson said in a statement, “The Sheriff is familiar with the restrictions related to release of juvenile information and is comfortable that the statements regarding the Defendant were appropriate.”
“There’s definitely a target across my back and it has nothing to do with anything that I’ve done.”
— Monique Worrell
In Worrell’s view, lawmakers have seized on the two tragic deaths to raise their own political profile and power against the will of the electorate.
“There’s definitely a target across my back and it has nothing to do with anything that I’ve done, but just simply with the fact that the governor wants full control over Florida politics and he doesn’t respect the will of the electorate,” Worrell told The Daily Beast.
“Governor DeSantis and Senator Scott have come in and decided to politicize this by taking attacks against me, without even having the decency to reach out to the families and offer their condolences” she later added. “It’s shameful.”
The families of some of Moses’ alleged victims agree—even while they call for the maximum sentence for their loved ones’ killer.
“What DeSantis and Scott have done is intentionally tried to mislead and confuse the public so they don’t have to deal with the real issue of gun violence and sane gun laws,” said lawyer Mark NeJame, who represents the families of Major and Lyons.
NeJame declared that family members are “disgusted” and “appalled” by what he said was lawmakers running a smokescreen on the real issue at hand—their failure on gun control.
“It’s going to be the O.K. Corral on the streets,” he told The Daily Beast, specifically calling out DeSantis’ push for open carry and stand your ground legislation.
NeJame noted he had a good working relationship with both Mina and Worrell.
“It’s clear that Monique Worrell is a political adversary of this power hungry governor and Senator Scott, and what they’re doing is attempting to capitalize on the death of this child and this young reporter for their own political benefit.”
Representatives of DeSantis did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and Scott’s office did not comment on accusations that his public statements on the case were purely political.
Worrell said that she will continue to defend her attorneys in Orlando.
“It is my responsibility to defend my team and explain to the community that the accusations against this office are not based in fact and to educate the community on all of the components that go into supporting incidents like what happened last week,” she said.