Rebekah Jones, a former Florida Department of Health data scientist, on December 7 accepted a plea deal with prosecutors, meaning she will avoid a January 23 trial in Leon County on a felony count of offenses against users of (computers).
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, “Evidence retrieved from a search warrant (in December 2020) shows that Jones illegally accessed the (FDOH) system sending a message to approximately 1,750 people and downloaded confidential FDOH data and saved it to her devices.”
As a condition of the deferred prosecution agreement, Jones agreed to the following special conditions:
- Pay $20,000 in investigative fees to Florida Department of Law Enforcement at a rate of $200 per month until paid in full;
- Perform 150 hours of community services at a minimum rate of 13 hours per month;
- See a licensed mental health professional for at least one hour per month
- Admits guilt to the offense(s) charged
- Pay $100 fee to State Attorney’s Office upon filing of agreement
Jones for a period of 24 months must also abide by other pre-trial intervention conditions, including but not limited to: refrain from violation of any criminal law; work regularly at a lawful occupation; not use intoxicants to excess; submit to and pay for random urinalysis; and report to pre-trial intervention officer each month as directed.
The Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney may, during the period of deferred prosecution, revoke or modify the conditions of the deferred prosecution by prosecuting her for the offense should she violate the conditions or void the agreement if its determined she has a prior record of adult felony criminal convictions.
Jones, who made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in Florida’s 1st District during the November 8, 2022 General Election, describes herself as a whistleblower after being fired from FDOH in May 2020. Jones claims she was terminated after refusing to manipulate the state’s COVID-19 dashboard data; however, a state investigation into her allegations against FDOH found no evidence of wrongdoing.
After the plea deal was signed by both parties, Jones issued the following statement on her blog: “The State of Florida determined on December 7, 2022 that its interests would best be served by dismissing its case for “exceeding authorized use of computer systems” against me, a charge stemming from the December 7, 2020 armed raid of my home. I’m free…”
She went on to add: “The conclusion of the two-years-long ordeal comes after I rejected multiple earlier plea offers from the state, who sought to settle the case without a trial early on. ”
Following is a copy of the signed agreement