Rebekah Jones, a former COVID-19 data scientist, entered a plea agreement last week in which she admitted guilt in a court case. The charges against her will be dismissed in exchange.
Jones, a former employee of the Florida Department of Health who developed the state’s COVID-19 portal, was accused of gaining unauthorized access to a governmental computer system. Jones said that as part of the plea agreement, she mentioned having a health department roster on her computer and promised to pay out $20,000 to cover the expense of a police inquiry.
Six conditions, including paying $20,000 to cover the costs of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation and pleading guilty, are part of the arrangement that delays prosecution for 2 years.
Prosecutors will withdraw the charges if Jones meets with the requirements and is not jailed for a different offense during the two years, and Jones won’t have to enter a guilty plea formally.
More About Rebekah Jones
In December 2020, during her controversial dismissal that made national headlines, state law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Jones’ house and accused her of the matter.
Authorities claimed Jones broke into a state computer system without permission and sent a considerable text message asking state workers to criticize Florida’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Jones was removed from the Florida Department of Health five months earlier, he had already established himself as one of Governor Ron DeSantis’ most public critics and filed a whistleblower report. Jones said that the reason for her dismissal was that she would not change COVID-19 case data at a time when states attempting to reopen following the initial epidemic outbreaks.