Failed Dem candidate in Florida who accused Gov. DeSantis of cooking COVID numbers pleads 'no contest' to criminal charges involving 'revenge porn' of ex-boyfriend

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A Florida Democrat who gained national notoriety for her public feuds with several Republicans in her state, including Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Matt Gaetz, will now serve probation for allegedly posting "revenge porn" of her ex-lover.

On Wednesday, Rebekah Jones, who was soundly defeated by incumbent Rep. Gaetz in the 2022 Congressional election for Florida's first district, pled no contest to a cyberstalking charge related to incidents that began several years ago. It appears that at least five years ago, Jones and an unidentified ex-boyfriend had a very bad break-up. Tensions between them continued to such an extent that her ex filed for — and was granted — a temporary injunction against her.

That injunction expired in June 2019. According to the man, almost immediately after it expired, Jones began posting nude photos of him and sharing those photos with his employer and his family and friends. She also reportedly wrote a 68-page summary of their relationship, which she also posted online. Reports indicate that Jones believed the man to be the father of one of her children.

As a result of the accusations of "revenge porn," Jones was arrested and charged with cyberstalking. Now, after her no-contest plea, she has been sentenced to serve one year of probation. She also must avoid all contact with the victim, pay about $275 in court and prosecution fees, and complete a Victim Awareness Program and Batterers Intervention Program.

Jones' version of events related to her ex differs considerably from those given in news reports. In a lengthy tweet thread, which she posted on Thursday, Jones positioned herself as the real victim in the case. She claimed that, six years ago, her ex "sexually assaulted" her at Florida State University, where she was then working as an instructor. He then enrolled in her class "to keep tabs" on her. She also accused the man of stalking her, posting "intimate photos" of her online, sending her frequent texts describing his "rape fantasies," and threatening to harm himself if she "left or didn't do what he wanted." She claimed she reported the abuse to police, who "took minimal action against him."

\u201cIt took six years -- SIX YEARS -- to escape my abusive ex from college. But as of yesterday, all his efforts to force himself into my life are over. \n\nA thread...\n\nSix years ago, a classmate of mine at FSU tracked me down at work and sexually assaulted me in my office.\u201d
— Rebekah Jones (@Rebekah Jones) 1686227474

In the thread, Jones hinted that she pled no contest so that the entire ordeal would finally be "over." However, she also seems confused about some of the details. She claimed that when she moves out of the state in a few weeks, she will leave "with no convictions, no guilty pleas,& no criminal record." Yet a no-contest plea, such as the one she submitted in the cyberstalking case, is considered a de facto conviction.

She was also "ordered to admit guilt" to cybersecurity charges for allegedly accessing Florida's COVID-19 data illegally in 2020 while working for the state's Department of Health. In the spring of 2020, Jones publicly attacked Gov. DeSantis for his handling of COVID and claimed she had been ordered to "manually change [COVID] data to drum up support for the plan to reopen."

DeSantis denied that accusation. "She was putting data on the portal which the scientists didn't believe was valid data," he said. "So she didn't listen to the people who were her superiors. ... Any insinuation otherwise is just typical partisan narrative trying to be spun."

At the time, the governor also made reference to the accusations of "revenge porn" leveled by Jones' ex. "Come to find out she's also under active criminal charges in the state of Florida. She's being charged with cyber-stalking and cyber sexual harassment," DeSantis said of Jones in 2020.

She was soon afterward fired from her position and charged with cybersecurity offenses in 2021. In a deal reached with prosecutors last December, Jones agreed to a "deferred prosecution," which allowed her to avoid a trial as long as she admitted guilt, paid a $20,000 fine, performed community service, worked with a mental health professional, and avoided future arrests for two years. If she fulfills those obligations, she will avoid formal conviction for the cybersecurity charges.

Data scientist Rebekah Jones arrested in Florida

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Liberal 'Young Turks' host apologizes for repeatedly amplifying Democratic activist's lies: 'I screwed up royally'

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Leftist script-reader Ana Kasparian of "The Young Turks" apologized Wednesday for parroting multiple false claims made by a disgraced critic of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

For having been fooled and in turn fooling her audience for years, Kasparian said, "I should've done my due diligence. I failed to do so. By failing to do so, I feel like I misled the audience into thinking that Rebekah Jones is some sort of hero."

What did she get wrong?

Rebekah Jones, the woman who lost a congressional race in a landslide to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) last year and who has up until recently enjoyed Kasparian's support, is a former Florida Department of Health data analyst who was fired for insubordination, having intentionally crashed the state's COVID dashboard.

Around the time of her dismissal, Jones accused the DeSantis administration of fudging its coronavirus data — a claim later determined to have been false by Florida Inspector General Michael J. Bennett.

"Based upon an analysis of the available evidence, the alleged conduct, as described by the complainant, did not occur," concluded the inspector's report.

Police later executed a search warrant on Jones' Tallahassee house after a data breach involving the theft of 19,000 employees' personal information was linked to the disgraced former data analyst's home IP address.

The National Review noted that while DeSantis had nothing to do with the warrant or its execution, Jones accused the governor of targeting her with his "gestapo." Furthermore, she suggested that police pointed weapons at her children, which bodycam footage later proved to have also been false.

Despite indications that Jones had a loose relationship with the truth, liberal media outlets, including Kasparian's, continued to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Last week, Jones' 13-year-old son was arrested after allegedly threatening to shoot up his school.

Officials in Santa Rosa county indicated that Jones' son had made threats online in February that he would shoot up Holley Navarre Middle School and stab students who angered him, reported the Pensacola News Journal.

According to investigators, the teen wrote:

  • "I want to shoot up the school";
  • "Okay so it’s been like 3-4 weeks since I got on my new antidepressants and they aren’t working but they’re suppose to by now so I have no hope in getting better so why not kill the losers at school";
  • "I’m getting a wrath and natural selection shirt so maybe but I don’t think many ppl know what the columbine shooters look like"; and
  • "If I get a gun I’m gonna shoot up hnms lol.:
These threats resulted in a digital threats of terrorism charge.
Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jillian Durkin indicated that following a vacation to Mississippi, Jones turned her son in.

However, Jones later took to Twitter, claiming her son had been "taken on the gov's orders."

"There is no freedom here," wrote Jones. "Only retaliatory rule by a fascist who wishes to be king."

\u201cMy family is not safe. My son has been taken on the gov's orders, and I've had to send my husband and daughter out of state for their safety.\n\nTHIS is the reality of living in DeSantis' Florida.\n\nThere is no freedom here. Only retaliatory rule by a fascist who wishes to be king\u201d
— Rebekah Jones (@Rebekah Jones) 1680741734

Jones insinuated that her son's arrest was politically motivated and that he was targeted because his mother was "a legally-protected whistleblower."

The Democratic activist and failed congressional candidate also accused police of kidnapping her son.

Here is footage allegedly showing Jones waiting with her son at the sheriff's office:

\u201cVideo of the arrest after Rebekah Jones\u2019 son was caught threatening to shoot up a middle school\n\n\u201d
— Facts Nordau (@Facts Nordau) 1680882685

Partisan blindness

Kasparian admitted Wednesday that Jones' latest string of lies gave her pause, prompting her to re-evaluate the other claims she repeated on her show.

Not only did "The Young Turks" host call into doubt Jones' self-description as a whistleblower but the accusations she leveled in 2020 against DeSantis regarding COVID death numbers, the details pertaining to the alleged raid, and the arrest of her son as well.

"Part of the reason why I screwed up is because I had all these biases, of course, against Ron DeSantis," she added. "And I don’t really feel bad about that because I think Ron DeSantis has done some pretty terrible things in the state of Florida, but it becomes a problem when that bias blinds you to what the facts of various stories happen to be."

"We bought this. I bought this. We reported exactly what she said," said Kasparian. "And now I have some degree of regret for doing that."

While admitting some accountability, she suggested the "mainstream media" was especially deserving of blame.

"If they're not doing their due diligence, if they're allowing their personal biases to stand in the way of actual, factual reporting, well, that's unfortunately going to trickle into the way independent news sources cover these stories as well," said Kasparian.

In her apology, Kasparian said, "I want to correct all of those errors that we had previously reported. And I want to be clear that out of everyone who works on the main show, the only person who should be held responsible for that is me. I’m the executive producer of the show and I screwed up royally."

Mediaite reported that Kasparian and "The Young Turks" weren't alone in celebrating Jones and amplifying her lies. MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, and the Miami Herald also peddled her narrative.

TYT Correction: Update on Rebekah Jones Story

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Disgraced Democrat operative's teen son arrested; allegedly threatened to 'shoot up' his former middle school

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Failed Florida congressional candidate Rebekah Jones' teen son was charged with a second degree felony Wednesday after allegedly issuing threats online, the New York Post reported.

"I want to shoot up the school. If I get a gun I'm gonna shoot up hnms lol," Jones' 13-year-old son allegedly wrote on social media in posts or messages to friends, according to Pensacola News Journal.

HNMS is Holley Navarre Middle School, which the boy used to attend. He was home schooled at the time he made the alleged threats.

"Okay so it’s been like 3-4 weeks since I got on my new antidepressants and they aren’t working but they’re suppose to by now so I have no hope in getting better so why not kill the losers at school," he reportedly also wrote.

His plan was to launch the attack before spring break, but he reportedly postponed it until March 31.

Friends of the boy alerted authorities, and Jones turned her son in to the Santa Rosa Sheriff's Office where a judge determined there was probable cause in the case.

In a Wednesday tweet, Jones appeared to blame Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), saying her son was taken "on government orders" and and that the state is ruled "by a fascist who wishes to be king."

\u201cMy family is not safe. My son has been taken on the gov's orders, and I've had to send my husband and daughter out of state for their safety.\n\nTHIS is the reality of living in DeSantis' Florida.\n\nThere is no freedom here. Only retaliatory rule by a fascist who wishes to be king\u201d
— Rebekah Jones (@Rebekah Jones) 1680741734
The Miami Herald changed a grievously misleading headline after severe backlash on social media. Andres Malave pointed out the change in a twitter post Thursday afternoon. Malave is the Director of Communications for Florida's GOP House of Representatives.

The initial headline said, "13-year-old son of Rebekah Jones, whistleblower who clashed with DeSantis, arrested over memes."

The headline was later changed to say "Son of Rebekah Jones, Florida whistleblower, arrested in probe of threatening Internet posts."

\u201c.@MiamiHerald changes headline \ncc: @RAlexAndradeFL\u201d
— Andres Malave (@Andres Malave) 1680812653

Rebekah Jones is a former employee of the state of Florida who made headlines during the pandemic when she claimed she was fired for refusing to lie about COVID statistics. A state inspector general concluded her claims were baseless, as TheBlaze reported

Jones posted multiple videos of her son's arrest. One shows the boy apparently being handcuffed by a female police officer in a parking lot. Another video, taken indoors, shows her handcuffed son being walked toward a set of doors by a person who appears to be the same officer.

Saturday evening, Jones posted an article on Substack saying her son was "both terrorized and ignored by authorities who are supposed to protect him" for three years.

In the article, she also accused Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a political rival who beat her in a race for the seat, of "mocking [her] 12-year-old autistic child." She also accused an unnamed person in Gaetz's office of allegedly "stalking" the boy.
Jones' son is slated for arraignment May 3. Until then, he is reportedly on home detention with a monitor, and is prohibited from possessing firearms, using the internet, and contacting anyone from the school.

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Media claim study shows that Florida undercounted COVID deaths by thousands. Here's what the study actually says.

In their never-ending quest to discredit Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is widely considered to be one of the front-runners for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, the media have attempted to paint DeSantis' handling of the coronavirus pandemic as incompetent and reckless. There's only one problem: By any objective measure, Florida has performed better than states (like New York and California) whose governors have been widely praised for their handling of COVID-19, even though Florida has a more vulnerable population.

Accordingly, the Democrats' allies in the media have seized upon a study published in the American Journal of Public Health that they claim shows that Florida has been undercounting COVID deaths. Yahoo News, which first publicized the study widely, originally claimed that the study showed that "4,924 excess deaths should have been counted as resulting from COVID-19 but for the most part were ruled as having been caused by something else, thus lowering Florida's coronavirus fatality count."

A number of local publications misrepresented the story even worse. Orlando Weekly originally claimed that the study showed that 19,000 COVID deaths were underreported. The outlet later issued a correction that said, "The number of deaths that researchers believe weren't included in the official tally is 4,924." This is closer to the truth, but also not what the study said. One especially illiterate Florida publication originally claimed the same 19,000 figure, but then "corrected" the story to say "The actual figure is 14,000." This story and its completely erroneous headline were likewise shared by a prominent liberal tweeter who either did not bother to read the story or was unable to understand it, and the tweet went viral, garnering over 1,000 retweets and 3,000 likes.

Florida likely has 14,000 more COVID-19 deaths then previously reported, says study
— Rebekah Jones (@Rebekah Jones)1617199472.0

I downloaded the actual study and read it, and here is what it says.

The number one thing to note is that it certainly does not say or even suggest that Florida underreported COVID deaths by 19,000 or 14,000. The folks making this claim either haven't bothered to read the study or have extremely poor reading comprehension. The study suggests, based on statistical modeling, that in a given period of 2020, Florida experienced 19,241 more deaths than would have been expected in that time period. Florida reported an official tally of 14,317 COVID-19 deaths during that time period. Therefore, according to the researchers, there are 4,924 extra deaths in Florida that cannot be accounted for.

Yes, incredibly, publications somehow took the actual reported figure of COVID deaths from the study time period and claimed that the study said that those deaths were underreported. Somehow, they came to this position even after someone clearly pointed out that they were misreading the study. To the extent that the study suggests anything nefarious at all, it pertains only to the 4,924 deaths that the researchers believe happened. One wonders whether the Twitter and Facebook pages of the outlets that shared these clearly erroneous stories will be suspended or condemned to oblivion with "fact checks" that diminish their reach.

And here's where it gets sticky. The study's lead author, Moosa Tatar, Ph.D., told The Hill, "I am sure that COVID-19 is responsible for most of these excess deaths." Dr. Tatar is certainly entitled to his own opinion, but the study he co-authored expressly disclaims any ability to know this information. As the study notes, there has been "speculation on whether deaths from non–COVID-19 causes have decreased or increased during the pandemic. It has been reported that deaths from unintentional injury decreased as a result of lockdown measures, but deaths from chronic disease, drug overdoses, and suicides have increased."

Ultimately, all such analysis thus far is speculation, and the authors do not attempt to quantify whether the 4,924 excess deaths they purportedly found are due to these causes or to COVID. Which is why, right in the text of the study, the authors state, "We are unable to stratify excess deaths by cause in our data." In other words, the study itself admits that it is not able to quantify how many of these excess deaths, if any, were due to COVID-19 or other causes. The study certainly did not claim, as Yahoo News stated, that "4,924 excess deaths should have been counted as resulting from COVID-19[.]" It claims that there were 4,924 excess deaths, states frankly that the authors were not able to determine what the cause of these deaths were, and concludes with a statement by the authors that "the mortality burden of COVID-19 is significantly higher than what the official tally suggests," even though the authors just admitted that they are "unable to stratify excess deaths by cause in our data."

I attempted to contact Dr. Tatar to ask him to explain why he told The Hill that he is "sure that COVID-19 is responsible for most of these excess deaths," when his study expressly disclaimed any ability to determine what was responsible for any of these deaths (if we grant that they exist), and he did not respond. However, a potential answer can be found from Dr. Tatar's admission that Florida was specifically chosen for this analysis due to Gov. DeSantis' choice to lift COVID restrictions early.

In other words, the researchers assumed from the beginning that DeSantis' actions should have killed people and were looking for confirmation of their own beliefs. It is not surprising to find them claiming to the media that they found it, even if their actual published data does not support that conclusion. Academics are as susceptible to confirmation bias as anyone else.

Finally, it should of course be noted that the study itself and its methodology have been widely criticized and debunked by sources that are definitely not inclined to be charitable to Gov. DeSantis and his approach, including the CDC and the Washington Post, which have pointed out that Florida's excess death totals are neither unusual nor out of line with other states during the pandemic; in other words, if Florida undercounted COVID deaths, so did California, New York, and the other states to which Florida is frequently compared. In fact, the Washington Post concedes that Florida's published COVID death total runs much closer to the CDC's excess death total than New York's, suggesting that, if anything, Florida did a more conscientious job of reporting COVID death totals than New York, where Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent the most of the last year being feted by the press for his handling of the pandemic.

As the Post notes, this exercise could have been done with any number of states and the same result would have been reproduced. The researchers chose Florida because of a stated agenda. Now their research is being used to support a proposition that it does not prove.

Florida Gov. DeSantis defends agents who served search warrant on home of fired data analyst ​Rebekah Jones

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) came out swinging on Friday in defense of the state police officers who served a search warrant on the home of one of his administration's former employees earlier in the week.

What are the details?

On Monday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement served a search warrant on the home of Rebekah Jones, who was fired in May from her position as a data analyst for the Florida Department of Health. The DeSantis administration said she was let go for insubordination, and that she altered the state's coronavirus dashboard without authorization.

Jones claims the state has been misleading the public about its COVID-19 numbers, and now publishes her own independent data from her home.

When police arrived at Jones' house, she set up a camera to record what happened, and posted footage online showing officers entering her residence and walking through a hallway calling for Jones' husband to come downstairs with guns drawn in what's widely been reported as a "raid."

Ms. Jones claims agents "pointed a gun in [her] face" and "pointed guns at [her] kids." The footage does not show Jones' children or her husband. She hit out at DeSantis afterward, saying he "sent the gestapo" to get her to "shut up."

1/There will be no update today. At 8:30 am this morning, state police came into my house and took all my hardwa…
— Rebekah Jones (@Rebekah Jones)1607377881.0

The FDLA confirmed serving the warrant, saying that they had been investigating a complaint from the Health Department that someone had "illegally hacked into their emergency alert system." The law enforcement agency denied that weapons were pointed at anyone in the home.

During a press conference Friday, a reporter asked DeSantis whether he knew "about the Rebekah Jones raid before it happened."

The governor said he "knew there was an investigation," but took offense to the reporter's use of the term "raid" to describe the incident where officers seized property from Jones' home.

"It's not a raid," DeSantis insisted, saying, "With all due respect, what you just said is editorializing," and he told the reporter, "I'm not going to let you get away with it."

"These people did their jobs," he continued. "They've been smeared as the gestapo for doing their jobs. They did a search warrant."

"Why did they do a search warrant on the house? Because her IP address was linked to the felony," DeSantis explained. "What were they supposed to do? Just ignore it? Of course not. They went, they followed protocol, we actually have video from the Tallahassee PD showing that they were very respectful. She was not cooperative."

"It was not a raid," DeSantis reiterated. "They were serving valid process in accordance with the laws and Constitution of the United States and the state of Florida. They did it with integrity, they did it with honor, and to say it's a raid is disinformation."

#WATCH: Gov. DeSantis spars with reporter over Rebekah Jones investigation, question about FDLE 'raid'…
— WPTV (@WPTV)1607711440.0

Cops raid home of fired Florida data analyst Rebekah Jones who accused state of misleading citizens on COVID

Florida state police raided the home of a former data analyst for the Florida Department of Health on Friday, who claims Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) "sent the gestapo" to get her to "shut up."

Rebekah Jones was fired from her position in the DeSantis administration in May for allegedly modifying the state's COVID-19 dashboard unilaterally without authorization. She claims the state was misleading citizens on the coronavirus numbers, and now she runs her own COVID-19 tracking sites from her house.

What are the details?

Jones tweeted Friday that state police served a warrant at her home that morning and seized property, claiming that officers "pointed a gun in [her] face" and "pointed guns at [her] kids."

She posted accompanying video showing the purported scene from inside her home as police entered. Armed officers can be seen walking through the hallway, and pointing their firearms upward as they called for Jones' husband to come down the stairs. Neither Jones' husband nor the couples' children are seen in the footage.

1/There will be no update today. At 8:30 am this morning, state police came into my house and took all my hardwa…
— Rebekah Jones (@Rebekah Jones)1607377881.0

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed in a statement that they served a warrant on Rebekah Jones' residence, saying that they had been investigating a complaint from the Florida Department of Health that someone had "illegally hacked into their emergency alert system."

The FDLE said that their agents determined Jones' home "was the location that the unauthorized message was sent from."

The FDLE added:

Agents knocked and called Ms. Jones both announcing the search warrant and encouraging her to cooperate. Ms. Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung-up on agents. After several attempts, Ms. Jones allowed agents inside. Agents entered the home in accordance with normal protocols and seized several devices that will be forensically analyzed. At no time were weapons pointed at anyone in the home. Any evidence will be referred to the State Attorney for prosecution as appropriate.

Miami Herald reporter Jeff Butera obtained the search warrant for Jones' residence, indicating that on Oct. 10, an "unknown user gained access and sent this message to approx 1,750 people: 'it's time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don't have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it's too late.'"

What did Rebekah Jones say?

Jones said on Twitter of the raid, "They took my phone and the computer I use every day to post the case numbers in Florida, and school cases for the entire country. They took evidence of corruption at the state level. They claimed it was about a security breach. This was DeSantis. He sent the gestapo."

She added later, "If Desantis thought pointing a gun in my face was a good way to get me to shut up, he's about to learn just how wrong he was. I'll have a new computer tomorrow. And then I'm going to get back to work."

The Herald reported:

In July, [Jones] filed a confidential whistle-blower complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, which she said is expected to release its findings soon.She also wrote in an op-ed in the Miami Herald in July that other state workers were being silenced for expressing their concerns about the state's handling of the coronavirus and its data collection.