Jones told CNN that she hadn’t improperly accessed any state messaging system and that she lost access to her government computer accounts after she was removed from her position.
Officers also “pointed a gun six inches from my face” and took all of her computers, her phone and several hard drives and thumb drives, Jones said.
Gretl Plessinger, a spokesperson for the law enforcement department, said that agents knocked on Jones’ door and called her “in an attempt to minimize disruption to the family.” Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung up on the agents, and Jones’ family was upstairs when agents did enter the house, Plessinger said. She didn’t respond to questions about why the officers drew guns.
“At no time were weapons pointed at anyone in the home,” Rick Swearingen, the department’s commissioner, added in another statement.
According to the affidavit by an investigator with the department, an unauthorized individual illegally accessed a state government emergency management system to send a group text message to government officials last month urging them to speak out about the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead,” the message said, according to the affidavit. “You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”
Officials traced the message, which was sent on the afternoon of November 10 to about 1,750 recipients, to an IP address connected to Jones’ house, the investigator wrote in the affidavit.
Jones told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday night that she didn’t send the message.
“I’m not a hacker,” Jones said. She added that the language in the message that authorities said was sent was “not the way I talk,” and contained errors she would not make.
“The number of deaths that the person used wasn’t even right,” Jones said. “They were actually under by about 430 deaths. I would never round down 430 deaths.”
Among the devices taken by officers were flash drives that Jones told CNN contained “proof that (state officials) were lying in January about things like internal reports and notices from the CDC,” as well as “evidence of illegal activities by the state.” She said that she accessed those reports legally and some had been sent to her by other people after she left the state government.
Jones said she believed the raid on her home was orchestrated by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who she’s publicly accused of mishandling the pandemic.
“This is what happens when you challenge powerful and corrupt people,” Jones said. “If he thinks this is going to scare me into silence, he’s wrong.”
DeSantis spokesperson Fred Piccolo told CNN that “the governor’s office had no involvement, no knowledge, no nothing, of this investigation.” He added that the law enforcement department launched an investigation into the message before anyone knew about Jones’ alleged involvement. The health department referred a request for comment to the law enforcement department.
But state officials have defended her dismissal.
The health department said in May that Jones was removed because she had “exhibited a repeated course of insubordination,” making “unilateral decisions to modify the Department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors.”
And DeSantis said at the time that Jones’ removal from her position was a “nonissue.”
Jones was previously charged with stalking last…