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Fired Data Scientist Rebekah Jones Raises Nearly $200K After FDLE Raid

Florida’s former COVID-19 data curator has raised more than $191,000 by Wednesday morning for her legal defense fund after being raided by law enforcement this week.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement raided Rebekah Jones’ home Monday night.

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said in a statement that they have been investigating Jones since early November when the Florida Department of Health’s emergency alert health system was hacked.

Jones told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that she had nothing to do with the Department of Health’s hack. She said police didn’t take her husband or children’s computer, or her router. She says the real goal of the raid was to get her communications with government employees.

“On my phone is every communication I’ve ever had with someone who works at the state who has come to me in confidence and told me things that could get them fired or in trouble like this,” Jones said. “I just want to say to all those people right now: If DeSantis doesn’t know already, he’ll know soon enough you’ve been talking to me.”

The state is reportedly investigating an unauthorized message that was sent to about 1,750 people on Nov. 10 through an emergency alert system that read, “It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”

According to the FDLE, an affidavit for a search warrant showed agents tracked the alert system login as originating from an IP address corresponding to Jones’ address. It is a third-degree felony to access computer systems without authorization.

Jones has not been charged.

In late May, Jones said she was fired after she refused to manipulate data in the state’s dashboard to make the case for reopening Florida’s economy. Then, Jones raised more than $170,000 on GoFundMe to launch her own COVID-19 data dashboard.

Check here to listen to a previous interview Jones did with WMFE’s Matthew Peddie. And check here for an interview done with NPR’s Rachel Martin.

Jones’ GoFundMe has raised more than $191,000 by Wednesday morning. The page is titled "Help Florida Scientist - Legal Fund." It says, "Looks like I need a new computer and a hell of a good lawyer."

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