Ron DeSantis Hit With New Legal Trouble

By: Georgia | Published: Jun 21, 2024

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is facing a lawsuit from Shane Desguin, a former top official at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Desguin claims he was wrongfully terminated from his position. 

ABC News reported that he filed the lawsuit claiming his forced retirement was due to him reporting misconduct within the FDLE.

Allegations of Wrongful Termination

According to the lawsuit, Shane Desguin faced “disparate treatment, different terms and conditions of employment, and was held to a different standard” despite his “stellar work performance.” 

Ron DeSantis smiling while speaking at a podium with an American flag background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This treatment followed his reports of “Defendants’ malfeasance, gross misconduct, and unlawful employment activities,” resulting in retaliation against him.


Timeline of Events Leading to Lawsuit

Desguin’s difficulties began in late 2021, as stated in the lawsuit. He later received a formal notification which simply stated: “Retired. Not involving misconduct.” 

Close-up of a "PLAINTIFF" nameplate on a courtroom table

Source: Wesley Tingey/Unsplash

This formal notice marks the beginning of the legal battle that questions the fairness and legality of his departure from FDLE.

Questionable Requests from DeSantis’ Office

The lawsuit details that Desguin was pressured to engage in activities he considered illegal, such as “obtaining photographs, biometric data, and any other pertinent information by engaging with migrants at the airport.” 

Ron DeSantis discussing, gesturing with both hands, in a committee room

Source: Wikimedia Commons

These requests were allegedly made by a top official from DeSantis’ office, which Desguin believed were inappropriate and illegal.

DeSantis’ Stance on Immigration

Governor DeSantis has been actively trying to strengthen immigration enforcement in Florida, a state where illegal migrant crossings have reportedly increased.

Close-up of Ron DeSantis speaking, slight smile, in a formal setting

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This lawsuit hints at possible pressures faced by law enforcement officials to implement stringent measures that might conflict with legal standards.

Escalation of Internal Conflicts

The conflict escalated as Desguin resisted complying with the increasing demands.

Ron DeSantis speaking at a podium with a "DESANTIS" banner and American flag backdrop

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The lawsuit specifically mentions, “As these requests escalated, [Desguin] objected, and emphasized, on multiple occasions…FDLE could not legally conduct name checks, capture photographs, or compile intelligence files without a criminal predicate or reasonable suspicion, as those actions would be unlawful.”


Official Response to the Allegations

In response to the lawsuit, Jeremy Redfern, DeSantis’ press secretary, referred to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Ron DeSantis speaking earnestly, microphone in hand, with a concerned expression

Source: Wikimedia Commons

He stated, “This guy [Desguin] was under a formal investigation, which revealed that he pointed his firearm at somebody in his office. If I did that while in the military, I would’ve been court-martialed.”


FDLE’s Internal Investigation

The internal investigation into Desguin’s conduct allegedly found violations of state rules concerning ethics and workplace behavior.

The official logo of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement featuring a bright sun, palm tree silhouette, and an outline of Florida

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Despite these findings, Desguin and Carpenter were both cleared of wrongdoing upon their departure from the FDLE, according to their attorney Marie Mattox, who told Politico, “this is a lie and never occurred.”


Allegations of Misconduct and Romance

The controversy extends to allegations of an improper romantic relationship between Desguin and Patricia Carpenter, which further complicated the ethical landscape at FDLE.

Black and white image of two hands gently touching, one reaching out to the other

Source: Kateryna Hliznitsova/Unsplash

This aspect of the case brings personal dynamics into the broader allegations of professional misconduct.


Political Pressures on Law Enforcement

Desguin also alleges that a top DeSantis aide instructed him to make arrests at a neo-Nazi demonstration in Orlando for political benefit, even if it meant stretching legal boundaries.

A person with handcuffed hands behind their back, wearing a blue shirt and jeans

Source: Wikimedia Commons

He was reportedly told, “If you look hard enough, you can find a way. The governor [DeSantis] wants someone arrested today. He will stand by you in any arrest.”


Withholding Information from Media

There are claims that DeSantis’ office obstructed the release of his travel records to The Washington Post

Ron DeSantis in a debate setting, speaking into a microphone with a serious expression

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The lawsuit accuses the governor’s office of refusing to promote an agency lawyer who disagreed with this decision, despite Desguin authorizing a raise for this lawyer because he felt the governor’s refusal violated the law.


Summary of the Legal Dispute

This lawsuit demonstrates significant allegations of misuse of power, questionable legal directives, and the intersection of political and legal standards within Florida’s governance.

Ron DeSantis speaking at a podium with a Turning Point Action logo, wearing a dark suit and red tie

Source: Wikimedia Commons

As the case unfolds, it will test the implications of these allegations for Governor DeSantis and the FDLE.