Fired Florida COVID-19 data analyst says she will turn herself in after warrant issued for arrest

On Saturday, Rebekah Jones, the former COVID-19 data analyst for the state of Florida, tweeted that a warrant has been issued for her arrest and she plans on turning herself in on Sunday.

Jones drew national attention because she said Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration manipulated data about the COVID-19 pandemic. She was fired last year and set up a competing COVID-19 online dashboard to display data about the virus.

The FDLE conducted the search at Jones’ house on Dec. 7 after an investigation allegedly linked her home address to a Nov. 10 message sent on an internal Department of Health multi-user account.

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The message from an unidentified sender said, "It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late."

Jones denies writing the message.

She tweeted on Saturday that the raid was based on a lie and FDLE found no evidence of the message sent to DOH staff on her computer. However, she added that police found documents she received/ downloaded from sources in the state or something of that nature. She said it is not clear at this point what they’re saying she had that she shouldn’t have had, but she says an agent said it has nothing to do with the subject of the warrant. 

She added that the agent told her attorney that there would only be one charge. Jones said the agent also told her attorney that speaking out or going to the media could result in additional charges.

Jones went on to say that a potential condition of her release may be no access to computers, the Internet or electronic devices. 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement told FOX 13 that there is an active warrant out for Jones' arrest and said they've been working with her attorney to have her turn herself in. FDLE added that the investigation is still active and more details will be released after she turns herself in. 

On December 20, Jones filed a lawsuit naming as defendants FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen, Agent Noel Pratts and an unidentified agent listed as John Doe. The lawsuit alleges that a search warrant used to enter her home "was obtained in bad faith and with no legitimate object or purpose."

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Three days after the lawsuit was filed, Jones’ attorneys filed a motion seeking to force the FDLE to return all property seized "and to erase or otherwise destroy any copies already made." As in the underlying lawsuit, Jones’ attorneys contended in the motion that she was not responsible for the Nov. 10 message on the Department of Health account.

Jones ended her series of tweets Saturday by saying that saying goodbye to her family is one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do in her life. 

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