Florida investigators have dismissed a former Health Department worker’s claim that she was fired for refusing to handle COVID statistics on behalf of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The Florida Department of Health’s Inspector General’s Office found “insufficient” or no evidence that data scientist Rebekah Jones was instructed to manipulate or misrepresent pandemic numbers, NBC reported.
Jones, who led Florida’s COVID-19 data dashboard, received national attention after accusing supervisors of falsifying data to help DeSantis’ case and ease restrictions.
Florida officials denied their allegations from the start.
Jones, who is currently a Democratic nominee for Congress running against incumbent Republican Matt Gaetz, was fired a month after his election. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, she still plans to sue the state for wrongful dismissal.
“I don’t think it was ever realistic for her to come out and say, ‘Yeah, everything she said is true, we’re sorry, my goodness,'” she told the newspaper.
Her critics have pointed to previous legal incidents to attack her credibility.
Jones was hit with a cyberstalking charge stemming from a relationship she had with a Florida State student while she was teaching at the school.
A DeSantis spokeswoman, Taryn Fenske, has called her a “discredited conspiracy theorist.”
Florida police officers searched her home in December 2020 on suspicion that she had sent an anonymous message to her former health department workers, urging them to speak out against DeSantis and its handling of COVID data. No charges have yet been filed in this case.
The investigation into their claims of data falsification was conducted by the Office of Inspector General of the Florida Department of Health Michael J. Bennett.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/27/investigators-debunk-claims-desantis-doctored-covid-numbers/ Investigators refute claims DeSantis manipulated COVID numbers