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Judge rules against Gov. DeSantis on migrant records

CBS News Miami

A Leon County circuit judge Tuesday ruled that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration did not comply with the state’s public-records law after an open-government group sought records about a controversial decision to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Judge J. Lee Marsh gave the administration 20 days to provide records sought by the Florida Center for Government Accountability. Marsh pointed, at least in part, to requested phone or text logs that could provide information about communications by DeSantis Chief of Staff James Uthmeier about the flights.

Marsh said the governor’s office did not show “any steps, direct steps taken to gather what this court finds are public records” related to state business conducted on personal devices.

Michael Barfield, director of public access for the center, said Marsh’s verbal ruling held the governor accountable for delays in providing public records.

“The public’s right of access was vindicated,” Barfield said. “The governor is not immune from being held accountable.”

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