DeSantis wants to schedule Disney trial after 2024 election

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference during which he signed a bill to protect the digital rights of Floridians, on June 6, 2023 in Wildwood, Florida.Paul Hennessy | Anadolu Agency | Getty ImagesAttorneys for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested that a trial in Disney’s civil lawsuit against him should be scheduled months after the November 2024 presidential election.DeSantis asked for the trial to start Aug. 4, 2025, more than two years after the company filed its complaint. But Disney contends it should begin on July 15, 2024, according to a filing in federal court in Tallahassee dated Tuesday.If the court agrees with Disney, then the political retaliation case against DeSantis would go to trial on the first day of the Republican National Convention. The GOP governor is a top contender for the party’s nomination for president.Disney declined to comment on whether its proposed trial date was a coincidence or a deliberate move. Lawyers for DeSantis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Disney’s lawsuit against DeSantis and other Florida officials is only the latest battleground in a long-running feud between the state’s powerful governor and one of its top employers.Shortly after Disney criticized the controversial state classroom bill derided as “Don’t Say Gay” by critics, DeSantis and his Republican allies targeted the special tax district that has allowed Florida’s Walt Disney World to effectively self-govern its operations for decades.In February, DeSantis replaced the district’s five-member board with his preferred picks. In March, those new members accused Disney of stripping them of their power by striking long-term development contracts shortly before they took charge. The DeSantis-backed board accused the company of undermining its authority over the district and voted to void the contracts.Disney sued, alleging a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” by DeSantis in response to speech protected by the First Amendment. The company is asking the court to restore the contracts and Disney World’s self-governing status. The board has countersued in state court.The latest federal court filing — a joint report following a June 15 videoconference between the parties in the case — came one day after DeSantis filed a motion to dismiss Disney’s lawsuit. His attorneys argued that he and at least one other defendant are “immune” from the suit and that Disney lacks standing to sue them.CNBC PoliticsRead more of CNBC’s politics coverage:DeSantis’ lawyers argued in the joint report that the evidence-sharing process ahead of trial, known as discovery, should be paused pending the outcome of the bid to dismiss the case.Disney’s lawyers opposed that request. They argued that doing so “will cause substantial harm” because the alleged political retaliation against the company is ongoing.Attorneys for DeSantis and the other defendants said they think it is “premature” to set a case schedule because of their pending efforts to dismiss the litigation. The lawyers proposed a schedule that would have the discovery process completed by Jan. 3, 2025.Disney suggested that that process should be wrapped up a year earlier.

Show More

Related Articles