DeSantis seeks to start the Disney experiment after the 2024 presidential election

ORLANDO — Attorneys for Gov. Ron DeSantis have asked to postpone the trial involving Disney until mid-2025, after the GOP presidential race ends and voters choose a winner in the November 2024 general election.

In a filing Tuesday in Tallahassee federal court, attorneys for the Florida governor seeking the Republican nomination and his appointees to the Disney World executive board outlined a proposed schedule seeking an Aug. 4, 2025, trial date.

In its lawsuit, Disney claims that its free speech rights were violated by the takeover of its governing district in retaliation for the Don’t Say Kay legislation being won by DeSantis. In the same submission, Disney proposed a July 15, 2024, test date, the same time as the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

The two sides disagree on when a motion should be filed asking the judge to rule in favor of one side without a full hearing. Disney proposed to file its summary judgment in early April 2024, which DeSantis’ lawyers said would be exactly one year later, in early April 2025.

Earlier this week, DeSantis and his appointees to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District asked a judge to dismiss the case, put it on hold or drop them as defendants.

DeSantis appointees took over the Disney World management team earlier this year following a year-long feud between the company and DeSantis. The fight began last year after Disney, under significant internal and external pressure, publicly opposed a state law banning classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary grades, a policy critics call Don’t Say Gay.

As punishment, DeSantis took over the county through legislation passed by the Republican-led Legislature and appointed a new board of supervisors to oversee municipal services for the sprawling theme parks and hotels. But before the new board came in, the company struck deals with previous board members who were Disney supporters that stripped the new supervisors of their authority over design and construction.

In response, DeSantis and Florida lawmakers passed legislation voiding those agreements.

Disney sued DeSantis and a five-member board, asking a federal judge to overturn the governor’s takeover of the theme park district and the actions of a new oversight board, saying they violated the company’s free speech rights.

The group sued Disney in state court in an attempt to maintain its control over construction and design at Disney World.

MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press.

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at @MikeSchneiderAP

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