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Review clears assistant state attorney over Facebook posts

Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis (right) faces reporters in May. With Orange and Osceola County State Attorney Jeff Ashton. Photo by Amy Green

The controversial opinions Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis expresses on his Facebook page have no bearing on the cases he handles.

That's the conclusion of state attorney office review.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick undertook the review in response to Facebook comments like one Mother's Day post urging drug addicts to get sterilized.

Burdick writes in a letter to Orange and Osceola County State Attorney Jeff Ashton that she's found no evidence Lewis' opinions affect his ability to handle cases fairly.

She says Lewis keeps very thorough notes detailing his legal analysis.

Ashton has said he believes Lewis' opinions are offensive, and he strongly disagrees with them. But he doesn't plan to reprimand Lewis because the Constitution protects free speech.

Lewis has apologized and promised to choose his words more carefully, but he continues to be outspoken on Facebook. In recent posts he takes aim at SeaWorld, Walt Disney World and Republican congressman John Mica of Central Florida.

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.
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