© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A screen shows the logo and a ticker symbol for The Walt Disney Company on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
(Reuters) -A federal district court judge on Thursday disqualified himself from hearing the Walt Disney (NYSE:) Co’s civil suit against Governor Ron DeSantis and other officials in Florida.
Judge Mark E. Walker wrote that a relative has a financial interest – 30 shares of Disney stock – that could be affected by the outcome of the proceeding, so he disqualified himself.
Walker denied DeSantis’ motion that he disqualify himself because of questions about his impartiality.
Walt Disney Co sued DeSantis, a Republican, in late April, asking a court to overturn state efforts to control the Disney World theme park, intensifying a battle between a global entertainment giant and DeSantis, who recently announced he would run for president.
In its lawsuit, Disney accused DeSantis and his supporters of illegally using the state government to punish a company for voicing an opinion that should be protected by free-speech rights.