Charges officially dropped against Plantation gym owner after DeSantis said he would pardon him for COVID violations

DeSantis to pardon Plantation gym owner who didn't enforce mask rules
DeSantis to pardon Plantation gym owner who didn't enforce mask rules

PLANTATION, Fla. – A virtual court hearing was held Tuesday morning for a Plantation gym owner, at which time the Broward State Attorney’s Office formally dropped charges against him.

The hearing comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last week that all Floridians who violated mask or social distancing orders during the COVID-19 pandemic are getting a pardon.

Mike Carnevale, who refused to enforce Broward County’s mask mandate at his business last summer, was arrested three times.

His wife, Jillian, was also arrested.

On Thursday, DeSantis granted the couple a reprieve to delay the case for 60 days, and said they will ultimately get clemency.

“I will make recommendations to the court that those who have been sentenced, have their sentences vacated,” State Attorney Harold Pryor said in a letter to the governor dated Monday. “I will also direct that my prosecutors nolle prosequi/dismiss those offenses involving all alleged violations of COVID-19 Emergency Executive Orders.”

Carnevale was facing two second-degree misdemeanors that could have landed him 120 days in jail and his wife faced one second-degree misdemeanor that could carry 60 days in jail.

Pryor’s office previously offered the gym owner its misdemeanor diversion program and Judge Robert Diaz wanted him to serve 10 days in jail as part of a plea deal.

In his letter, Pryor said law enforcement officers across Broward issued tickets or made arrests for 149 incidents between late March of 2020 and November 2020.

He said his predecessor declined to file charges in about 37% of those cases.

“As you may know, my prosecutors had previously offered to allow people accused of this offense entry into our Misdemeanor Diversion Program, which would have left them with no criminal record if they completed the program,” he wrote.

Read Pryor’s full letter to the governor below:

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