Jan 14, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Florida judge rejects DeSantis' bid to toss out migrant flight lawsuit

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is seen on Nov. 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A Florida judge on Friday refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over his bid to transport migrants, per the Miami Herald.

Driving the news: Leon County Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper set a Jan. 30 trial date to hear the case brought on by Florida state Sen. Jason Pizzo (D), who accused the governor of unlawfully using taxpayer money to fly nearly 50 undocumented migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard last September.

  • DeSantis’ lawyers attempted to get the case from Pizzo, who is suing as a private citizen, tossed out.
  • The judge did, however, agree to drop the state's Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, as a defendant.

Catch up quick: Pizzo sued DeSantis and other state officials over their effort to transport migrants, saying it violated the state program because the migrants were not in the country illegally and their flight did not originate in Florida.

  • At least two other lawsuits have been filed over the matter.

By the numbers: The state is facing a hefty price tag for the whole affair.

  • The Florida Department of Transportation paid the aviation company that conducted the migrant flights nearly $1.6 million.
  • The state may also end up paying up to $1 million to defend itself in a class action filed by the migrants.

DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to Axios' for comment.

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