Former state analyst Rebekah Jones turns herself in to authorities, tests positive for COVID-19

Analyst who clashed with Gov. Ron DeSantis over COVID-19 data under investigation in hacking case
Posted at 8:50 AM, Jan 19, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Former Florida Department of Health analyst Rebekah Jones has turned herself in after a warrant was issued for her arrest, authorities say.

Just hours after being booked into the Leon County Jail, it was confirmed Jones tested positive for COVID-19.

Jones was fired from her post in May after she questioned Florida's COVID-19 data. She has been an outspoken critic of Gov. Ron DeSantis and his state agencies on social media since she was fired.

At a court hearing on Monday morning, a judge set Jones' bond at $2,500. Court records show she bonded out of the Leon County Jail at 10:58 a.m.

Jones' attorney, Stephen Webster, released this statement:

"Yes. She tested positive at the jail. It is truly unfortunate that the Jail staff were exposed, but it is fortunate that she turned herself in voluntarily, because they were threatening to extradite her from D.C., which would have taken days of transport and effectively exposed the entire Eastern seaboard to Covid."

Florida authorities investigating an alleged hack into the state's emergency response system raided her home on Dec. 8.

Agents served the search warrant on her Tallahassee home after a complaint from the Department of Health regarding unauthorized access to its emergency alert system.

"Agents believe someone at the residence on Centerville Court illegally accessed the system," FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said.

"The agent told my lawyer there would be only one charge, but emphasized that speaking out or going to the media may result in police 'stacking' additional charges," Jones said Saturday on Twitter. "All of this just to silence a critic of a governor who failed to do his job and got thousands killed as a result."

Jones continued, "A potential condition of my release may be no access to computers, internet or electronic devices. Bogus charges designed to silence and now jail me for being a scientist critical of the government. That's the textbook definition of #censorship."

Her tweet at 2:33 p.m. Saturday appeared to indicate that she was going to turn herself in.

"Saying goodbye to my family just now is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Jones tweeted.