Federal judge rules in favor of St. Johns commissioner, says elected officials can speak on politics

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Action News Jax’s Ben Becker has learned a federal judge has ruled in favor of a local county commissioner who was facing a potential grand jury investigation for violating Florida election law.

On Wednesday afternoon, a judge granted an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction filed by St. Johns County Commissioner Krista Keating-Joseph.


The judge said the Supreme Court has made it clear that elected officials may speak freely on political topics.

Becker first told you Monday that prosecutors were convening a grand jury to determine if Keating-Joseph broke the law when she campaigned during a November county commission meeting.

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Keating-Joseph, who is not up for re-election, openly discussed voting out of office her colleagues who are running against candidates she has endorsed. She was censured the following month.

You can read the full ruling below:

Becker reached out to Keating-Joseph for her reaction. She sent him the following statement on Thursday:

Becker also reached out to Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brian Kramer, who was pursuing the case, to ask if there will be an appeal.

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