A federal judge overseeing the First Amendment lawsuit that Walt Disney Parks filed against Gov. Ron DeSantis and others is disqualifying himself, but not because of bias claims made by the Florida governor.
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said in a court filing Thursday that it was because a relative owns 30 shares of Disney stock. Walker described the person as “a third-degree relative,” which typically means a cousin, a great-aunt or great-uncle, or a great-niece or great-nephew.
The governor’s lawyers had filed a motion to disqualify Walker last month because he had referenced the ongoing dispute between the DeSantis administration and Disney during hearings in two unrelated lawsuits before him dealing with free speech issues and fear of retaliation for violating new laws championed by the governor and Republican lawmakers.
Disney had opposed the governor’s motion, saying the judge had shown no bias.