Gov. Ron DeSantis Grants Clemency to Gym Owners Charged for Opposing Mask Mandate

Michael and Jillian Carnevale were the owners of Fitness 1400 in Plantation, Florida. Because they failed to comply with the COVID mandates, the couple has been arrested three times, had their business seized, and they are now facing jail time. All for failing to enforce the county's mask mandate for their customers.

A gym owner from Plantation was in Broward County Court Thursday where he was facing charges from this past summer when he did not enforce mask wearing at his fitness center.

Mike Carnevale, the former owner of Fitness 1400 in Plantation, said he was not backing down after being arrested three times and charged with failure to comply with an emergency order.

At the time, Carnevale, 31, said he would not enforce Broward County's emergency order, which mandated that masks be worn while people were working out in gyms to prevent coronavirus spread. That's what led to his arrest in late July, then twice in August when his gym was shut down.

A small group of people rallied outside of the court in Fort Lauderdale in support of the man who has become the face of the anti-mask movement, at least in South Florida. His supporters carried signs and flags.

Speaking outside of court on Thursday, Carnevale said: “We're here to say that small business owners are not criminals. Small business owners are tired of being persecuted by South Florida local governments. Health and wellness is not mandated and dictated.”

Inside the courtroom, Carnevale was offered a plea deal of which his attorney, Cory Strolla, said the gym owner declined.

The couple is scheduled to appear in court again on May 18 for sentencing, and they appeared with their attorney on a May 12 segment of Fox News' The Ingraham Angle. To everyone's surprise, Governor Ron DeSantis appeared with them.

After host Laura Ingraham interviewed the couple, Ingraham asked Gov. DeSantis, “What can you do?”

DeSantis responded:

It's a total overreach Laura, this is exactly what we ordered against last Summer, many, many months ago. I was 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 glad to be on to say, effective tomorrow morning, I am 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.

WOW. If Floridians aren't already in with love Ron DeSantis, that is reason to love him more.


A DeSantis fan tweeted her gratitude to the popular governor:

While others feel the love, this is sure to fuel the legacy media's hate. What is interesting is that the truly horrible governors and their horrible acts continue to be ignored, while the media overturns every rock to find something on DeSantis. As the good book says,

“In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even the ones that are inconspicuous cannot remain hidden.” 1 Timothy 5:25

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