January 17, 2021

HMMMM: Ex-Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones ‘turning herself in’ to face new charge.

In a series of tweets Saturday, Jones alleged the state failed to connect her to a message sent on the state’s emergency management system last year calling on civil servants to blow the whistle on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ COVID-19 pandemic response. That had been the basis for a search warrant executed by armed FDLE agents of Jones’ home on Dec. 7 where they seized phones, computers and memory drives.

“The state has issued a warrant for my arrest – even though the ‘crime’ is not related to the warrant,” Jones tweeted Saturday, referring to the December search warrant.

“To protect my family from continued police violence, and to show that I’m ready to fight whatever they throw at me, I’m turning myself into police in Florida Sunday night. The Governor will not win his war on science and free speech. He will not silence those who speak out,” she tweeted.

Flashbacks: From last month: Florida Police Raid Home Of Fired State Covid-19 Data Scientist Rebekah Jones.

About ten officers with guns drawn raided her home in Tallahassee at around 8:30 a.m., Jones told CNN, as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement worked to execute a search warrant as part of an investigation into whether the data scientist accessed a state government messaging system without authorization to encourage employees to speak out about coronavirus deaths, according to an affidavit obtained by the network.

“It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead,” the November 10 message said, according to the affidavit. “You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”

* * * * * * * *

She said officers also “pointed a gun six inches from my face” and took all of her “hardware and tech” including her computers, phone and flash drives that she says contained “proof that (state officials) were lying in January about things like internal reports and notices from the CDC” and “evidence of illegal activities by the state.” She said that she accessed those reports legally and some had been sent to her by other people after she was removed from her position.

Rick Swearingen, the law enforcement department’s commissioner, said in a statement that “at no time were weapons pointed at anyone in the home.”

And from May: Rebekah Jones’ firing is the COVID clickbait the media dreams of – but it’s all fake.

Jones also has an extensive criminal history in Leon County, where she’s been arrested and charged with three felonies, including one for robbery, and a handful of misdemeanor cases including “sexual cyberstalking,” a case where she created a website and used it to sexually harass her ex-boyfriend. The website has been taken down, but images from the case exist in Leon County court records.

Most of the charges filed against her came after she was hired by the Department of Health, so they would not have turned up in any background check.

The bottom line: Rebekah Jones was fired for performance issues, not for “refusing to manipulate data.” And her extensive criminal history, which predates her employment in Florida, lends credence to the DeSantis administration that she was just a troublesome employee who is now disgruntled and trying to get media attention about her firing. The easiest way to get media attention right now is to claim a Republican elected official is involved in a conspiracy to cover up COVID-19 data detrimental to reopening the state economy.

The media outlets listed above will not issue retractions. They will double down on the idea that DeSantis’s administration is withholding / manipulating / deleting / altering data. That, too is totally false. But mark these words, the embarrassment of touting Rebekah Jones as their coronavirus martyr will quickly fade into the mainstream media memory hole.

But hey, good enough to be named Forbes’ 2020 ‘Tech Person of the Year.’

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