Gov. Ron DeSantis grants clemency to Florida business owners arrested for not enforcing mask-wearing

In a Fox News interview on Wednesday, Florida business owners Mike and Jillian Carnevale discussed being arrested several times for not enforcing a mask mandate.  They were joined in the interview by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who granted the couple clemency.

Mike and Jillian Carnevale are the owners of Fitness 1440 in Plantation, Florida (NBC 6 South Florida).  They appeared on the Ingraham Angle Wednesday in an interview during with Gov. DeSantis joined to grant the couple clemency (Fox News).  Mike had been arrested three times over the summer and appeared before a judge in March over several charges of failing to comply with an emergency order.  In late August, Carnevale was arrested after he set up equipment in the parking lot of his gym and did not require members to wear masks. “I believe I’m being targeted because I stood up to Broward County,” Carnevale said. “They’re looking to put us in jail for this and we’re not backing down. We have an attorney that’s going to fight all the way to the end, I’m going to fight all the way to the end.”

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During the Fox News segment, DeSantis called the arrests a “total overreach.” The governor went on to say, “This is exactly what we ordered against last summer many, many months ago, and so I was actually just recently briefed on this case, and we looked at it and so I’m glad you have Mike and Jillian on, and I’m also glad to be on to be able to say that effective tomorrow morning, I’m going to sign a reprieve under my constitutional authority.  So that will delay the case for 60 days against both of them, and then when our clemency board meets in the coming weeks, we’ll issue pardons not only for Mike and Jillian, but for any Floridian that may have outstanding infractions for things like masks and social distancing.”

The governor will likely not have a difficult time issuing clemency to those who have violated Covid-19 restrictions when the clemency board meets in the coming week, as the board is made up of Gov. DeSantis and members of his Cabinet (Forbes).  He only needs the approval of two members of his Cabinet to grant pardons, which is good news for the Carnevale couple.  Mike Carnevale later posted a clip from the interview on Instagram saying, “Sometimes you have to be Ron to be right!  Thank you @flgovrondesantis!”





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