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Florida official lay ‘dead or dying’ for 24 minutes in a governor’s office hall, per report

Pete Antonacci died following a meeting of the Office of Election Crimes and Security.
 
Pete Antonacci, seen here in 2009, was chosen by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022 to lead the state’s new Office of Election Crimes and Security.
Pete Antonacci, seen here in 2009, was chosen by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022 to lead the state’s new Office of Election Crimes and Security. [ COLIN HACKLEY | Special to the Times ]
Published Nov. 27, 2023

ORLANDO — Pete Antonacci, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ election fraud office director and former Broward County elections supervisor, lay “dead or dying” in a governor’s office hallway for 24 minutes last year before anyone came to his aid, The Florida Bulldog reported.

The Bulldog, a nonprofit news organization, also reported Sunday that no autopsy was performed by the medical examiner’s office.

Antonacci, 74, died Sept. 23, 2022, following a contentious meeting of the Office of Election Crimes and Security, which DeSantis appointed him to lead two months earlier.

The Bulldog’s review of five heavily redacted Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports did not reveal the meeting’s agenda or what was discussed. DeSantis had created the office to ensure what he called “election integrity” after former President Donald Trump’s false claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

Antonacci abruptly left the meeting before he died, and his death was previously announced as taking place at an undisclosed location within the Capitol building, where one floor contains offices for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement records stated Antonacci “lay dead or dying on the hallway floor of the governor’s office for more than 20 minutes before anyone apparently noticed and came to his aid,” the Bulldog wrote. “More precisely, 24 minutes, in a hallway under real time video-only surveillance.”

“By the time a Capitol police officer arrived a minute or two later and hooked the pulseless Antonacci up to (a defibrillator), the machine ... assessed Antonacci and advised that ‘no shock’ was needed,” the Bulldog reported.

In an interview with his staff, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass said he stepped into the hallway about 25 minutes after Antonacci left and saw the director with his face “purple and blue” and with a bleeding cut on his forehead after having apparently hit his head on a door or doorknob while falling. Glass said he checked for a pulse and felt none.

According to the Bulldog, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Chief of Staff Shane Desguin stated he and Glass performed chest compressions and used an artificial manual breathing unit until medics arrived.

Antonacci was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead by an emergency room doctor, the reports state. The reports also state that Antonacci’s wife, Anne Longman, and his primary doctor, Stacia Groll, stated that he had a long history of heart disease. The doctor was willing to sign off on a death certificate, the report said.

A Florida medical examiner that the Florida Bulldog did not identify said it was unusual that no autopsy was performed. An autopsy was done when Gov. Lawton Chiles died of a heart arrhythmia at the governor’s mansion in 1998.

Governor’s office spokesman Jeremy Redfern did not respond Monday to the Orlando Sentinel’s request for comment on the Bulldog story.