Gaetz wants woman who threw drink at him to serve time
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) this week asked a federal court to sentence a woman who threw a drink at him to prison to send a message that “free speech is welcome, but assault will not be tolerated.”
Gaetz’s office on Wednesday provided the Pensacola News Journal with a copy of the victim impact statement the congressman sent regarding Amanda Kondrat’yev’s sentencing on Monday.
“I ask the court to sentence the Defendant to some time of incarceration,” the letter reads. “Constituents deserve to be safe at events hosted by our congressional office. My staff deserves to be safe. Their families and mine shouldn’t have to worry that while federal officials are doing their jobs, we are at risk of assault.”
The Republican lawmaker later added that his supporters are “just as passionate as my opponents.”
“They have the capability to be violent, too. My efforts to ensure ALL participants remain nonviolent are undermined greatly by the Defendant’s actions,” he wrote. “Only incarceration allows me to reinforce to my supporters and opponents alike that Free Speech is welcomed – but assault will not be tolerated.
“If the defendant is not subject to some incarceration, then word will be out that a first assault is functionally ‘free,’” he concluded. “This will make my events, my staff and my constituents less safe.”
Gaetz told the outlet that he was not insinuating in his statement that his supporters would become violent if Kondrat’yev is not sentenced to prison.
“My supporters have never been violent to anyone,” he told the News Journal.
Kondrat’yev, 35, in August pleaded guilty to assaulting a U.S. Congress member. She faces up to a year in prison, a $100,000 fine or five years of probation.
She admitted to throwing a cup of red liquid at Gaetz while he was leaving a Pensacola restaurant following his “Open Gaetz” event on June 1.
Kondrat’yev was part of a group of protesters outside the event, and she reportedly held a sign that read “Gaetz wipe the blood off your hands, A+ rating NRA, save our kids vote Gaetz out 2020,” referring to the congressman’s rating by the National Rifle Association, Roll Call reported at the time.
Gaetz said after the incident that he was pressing charges out of fear that similar things would happen to him or his staff in the future.