TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Rep. Bob Cortes went before the media with other lawmakers Tuesday at a news conference calling for Gov. Rick Scott to remove State Attorney Aramis Ayala from her post over her anti-death penalty stance.
As a result of the event, Cortes said he has received threats against himself and his family.
“Well, basically they were in disagreement of what position I took and they called me a traitor and that my family was in danger,” he told Channel 9.
Ayala has been under fire after announcing that her office would not pursue the death penalty in any case it prosecutes.
Specifically, Ayala said she would not seek the death penalty against accused murderer Markeith Loyd, who has been charged with killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, in December and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton in January.
As a result, Scott reassigned the Loyd case and 21 other death-penalty cases to another state attorney, a move that Ayala called an abuse of power.
Cortes, a Republican, has called for Scott to remove her from her elected office over her position on the death penalty.
The threat Cortes received came in the form of a private Facebook message.
“You will be voted out and your family is not safe either from your traitorous ways,” part of the message said.
Cortes didn’t mind someone disagreeing with him, but was upset that his family had been brought into the equation.
“I take serious offense to this because whatever position I take, my family has nothing to do with it,” he said.
Investigators are working to determine the source of the message and were treating it as a serious threat.
“If this was a person that was definitely looking to do some harm, we want to be aware and prevent that from happening,” Cortes said.
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