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Constitutional lawyer pokes holes in lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis: 'Stronger on rhetoric' than 'facts or law'

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Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley poured cold water on the federal lawsuit filed against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for transporting migrants to Martha's Vineyard.

What about the lawsuit?

Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston filed a class action lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday accusing DeSantis of having "executed a premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme centered on exploiting this vulnerability for the sole purpose of advancing their own personal, financial and political interests."

The lawsuit claims DeSantis violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by transporting the migrants, among other crimes.

DeSantis, however, claimed the migrants went voluntarily, releasing the Spanish-English document that migrants signed before their trip.

What did Turley say?

The liberal attorney, who teaches at George Washington University Law School, described the lawsuit's claims as "highly dubious," explaining they "will require substantially more factual support to survive" in court.

Because DeSantis can prove the migrants signed forms acknowledging their trip to Massachusetts, Turley said the lawyers will have to prove consent "was secured by trick or fraud." But that will be difficult, Turley explained, because the lawyers point to a brochure they claim is deceptive but actually pulled information directly from a Massachusetts government website.

According to Turley, DeSantis can also point to multiple media reports proving migrants were happy they were going to Martha's Vineyard.

Turley also highlighted the weakness of the suit's criminal accusations. For instance, the lawsuit accuses DeSantis and his co-defendants of false imprisonment. But to support that accusation, "the complaint merely restates defrauding claims," Turley noted.

"The complaint is stronger on rhetoric than supporting facts or law," the constitutional lawyer explained. "It will face a motion to dismiss and that the litigants may be able to offer more evidence of a fraud or misrepresentations to negate their signed waivers.

"However, this is unlikely to result in a serious threat to these ongoing flights by various states," he added. "This is a civil action that, even if it can survive threshold challenges, will be in the court system for a long time in seeking to establish these claims. Many of these claims are likely to be dismissed or abandoned in the course of that litigation."

Federal District Court Judge Allison Burroughs, an Obama appointee, is presiding over the case. She has not yet set a date for preliminary hearings.

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