Rebekah Jones, the fired Florida health department official who has been embraced by many in the media for her criticism of Republican governor Ron DeSantis, is behind a mysterious local Florida news outlet that hailed her as an "international hero" and attacked the Florida state attorney who prosecuted Jones in a hacking case, according to corporate records reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
The website, My Northwest Florida, has published just a handful of articles since it launched last year, including a lengthy investigative story that accused state prosecutors of forging Jones’s signature on a plea agreement in which she admitted to guilt in December. Corporate records indicate that Jones herself founded the media organization late last year.
Jones, who has repeatedly promoted the article to her 418,000 Twitter followers, hasn’t disclosed any role in the news outlet. She denied it was her website in a phone call with the Free Beacon this week.
"No, my website is MissInformational.com," she told the Free Beacon, referring to another group she runs that seeks to combat "disinformation." When asked about the corporate records, Jones hung up. She did not call back and didn’t respond to a subsequent call and written request for comment.
The news comes as Jones—a former Florida health official who claimed she was fired and arrested on false charges after exposing the DeSantis administration’s supposed cover-up of COVID death data—is in the spotlight after accusing the governor of additional political retaliation. Jones alleged last week that her son was "kidnapped on the governor’s orders." The 13-year-old was arrested by the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office after allegedly posting threats that he wanted to "shoot up the school" and "kill the losers at school." There is no indication DeSantis had anything to do with the arrest.
While Jones has become a quasi-celebrity with progressive activists, she has also faced questions about her credibility. Her claims about the state’s COVID data were deemed unfounded, and she lost a congressional race against Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz in November.
My Northwest Florida LLC was incorporated by Jones on Nov. 15, 2022, and she is listed as the manager. In its initial government filing, the company said it seeks "to build resources across our communities, improve the quality of news provided to our neighbors, and provide opportunities for everyone to give and get help as needed." That mission statement is identical to the "About" section of MyNWFL.com.
Sharp-eyed Twitter users have noted that the contact phone number for MyNWFL.com is the same as Jones’s campaign number, and an archived version of the website’s "About" section said it "continues the Campaign for Good led by congressional candidate Rebekah Jones." Jones’s name also appears to be listed at the top of the outlet’s email account.
MyNWFL has leveled serious criminal allegations against the Florida state attorney’s office, claiming that prosecutors defrauded Jones into signing a plea agreement admitting to guilt on the hacking charges.
Just a few days after Jones signed the plea deal, State Attorney Georgia Cappleman, the prosecutor in the case, received an email from a person who identified themselves as a reporter at "NWFL News" named "Rachel Davis," according to a copy obtained by the Free Beacon.
Davis claimed she obtained "copies of emails from Rebekah Jones" showing that Cappleman "forged Ms. Jones' signature from a previous form and affixed it to a deferred prosecution agreement that Ms. Jones had never received." Cappleman denied any wrongdoing.
MyNWFL went on to publish a story about the allegations under the byline "Rachel Davis." The article claimed that Cappleman "forged Jones’ signature on a new [plea] agreement that neither Jones nor her lawyers had ever seen" that included an admission of guilt.
The article effusively praised Jones, saying that the hacking case "catapulted Jones from Florida cause célèbre to international hero."
"Jones managed to best a radical and increasingly dangerous governor with presidential aspirations at each turn," the article concluded. "She lived to tell the tale. The problem is hardly anyone is still listening."
Jones promoted the story on Twitter as evidence that a "state prosecutor's office allowed the agency involved [to] dictate terms of dismissing a politically motivated case."
The Free Beacon was unable to locate Davis or identify her previous work. Jones told the Free Beacon that Davis was "a reporter."
Other stories on the My Northwest Florida website appear to be copy-and-pasted from established local news outlets. Romi White, the publisher of South Santa Rosa News in Northwest Florida, told the Free Beacon she was shocked this week to see two of her articles reposted there without permission.
"That’s my hard work that I’ve done, and she’s using it on her website apparently," said White. "I’m beside myself right now. I’m just furious. I’m absolutely furious."
White told the Free Beacon that Jones reached out to her late last year after losing the election and asked if they could partner to launch a national news website. White said she declined because she didn’t believe Jones was credible.
"She said it would stretch from Texas to Tallahassee, Florida," said White. "I was not interested in doing it because she and I just have very core value differences."