Despite his laser-like focus on defending President Donald Trump from a sham impeachment attempt by Democrats, Gaetz has made some time to address the federal court handling the case of the woman who assaulted him with a drink as he was leaving a restaurant.
In a victim impact statement given by his office, Gaetz believes that his assailant should face incarceration because targeting someone for their political affiliation “will not be tolerated.”
“I ask the court to sentence the Defendant to some time of incarceration,” it 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.”
“My supporters are just as passionate as my opponents,” Gaetz added, noting that both sides of the political aisle are capable of violence. “They have the capability to be violent too. My efforts to ensure ALL participants remain nonviolent are undermined greatly by the Defendant’s actions. Only incarceration allows me to reinforce to my supporters and opponents alike that Free Speech is welcomed – but assault will not be tolerated.”
He stressed the need to make a public example out of this case as a way to make it clear to others that they can’t get away with violently expressing their disdain for another individual, regardless of the reason.
“If the defendant is not subject to some incarceration, then word will be out that a first assault is functionally ‘free.'”
His attacker, 35-year-old Amanda Kondrat’yev, pleaded guilty to assaulting a U.S. Congress member, and faces “up to a year in prison, a $100,000 fine or five years of probation.” She was an attendant of the protest happening outside the restaurant where Gaetz was holding his “Open Gaetz” event on June 1. Prior to the assault, she ran against Gaetz in Florida’s first congressional district in 2016, but eventually dropped out which led the Republican securing the seat.
In May of 2016, Gaetz also invited Kondrat’yev to a debate regarding a “religious symbol in a public park,” that she had filed a lawsuit to have removed. In the press release regarding the debate, Gaetz said “our religious liberty is under attack by far-left liberals like Amanda Kondrat’yev, who filed a lawsuit to remove the Cross at Bayview Park. I believe this lawsuit is outrageous and challenge Mrs. Kondrat’yev to a debate in front of the Bayview Park Cross.”
Though she accepted the invitation, the debate never actually happened.
While the assault on Representative Gaetz may not have been anywhere near-fatal, it would set a terrible precedent for someone who lashed out at an elected official to be set free with little to no punishment. Especially an assault by someone who clearly held a political grudge, having lost an elected seat to him.
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