Lawyers for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are lining up witnesses to testify against former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel as he fights his suspension.
A list of potential witnesses and exhibits released this week shows nine employees of the Broward Sheriff’s Office could be called to testify against Israel.
Israel requested a state Senate hearing after being suspended by the governor for allegedly mishandling the deadly shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
The Senate trial is tentatively set for the week of April 8th.
Israel’s lawyers have acknowledged mistakes were made in the handling of the tragedy, but asserted that they do not rise to the level of a suspension. For his part, Israel has alleged that his removal was a “massive power grab by the governor to subvert the will of Broward County voters.”
“I understand it’s easier to say ‘suspend Sheriff Israel’ than it is to address the real problem — the problem around this nation of gun violence,’’ Israel said at a press conference at the time. He also opened up a legal defense fund that is continuing to solicit donations to fight the charges.
He added “we will appropriately respond” if the process appears to become partisan or unfair, but “we hope there is no evident bias or partisanship in something as important as the constitutional standing of an elected official.”
“It is for the people of Broward County to decide who their sheriff is, not a political appointment by someone in Tallahassee,” according to Scott’s attorney.
“We believe that the facts, the evidence, the law, and the Constitution will say Sheriff Israel is to be reinstated, meaning that suspension should be vacated.”
Israel is also likely to be named as a witness in his own defense, though it is not yet clear if he will testify in person.
The next meeting in the case is scheduled for March 20.