Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) spoke with the Pensacola News Journal this week after a woman threw a drink at him as a form of protest. Gaetz called on the woman to be sent 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.”
Gaetz then claimed that his supporters could also be violent if they wanted to but have chosen not to be.
“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.”
“My supporters have never been violent to anyone,” he told the News Journal.
The 35-year-old Kondrat’yev pleaded guilty to throwing a cup of red liquid at the congressman. She faces up to a year in prison, a $100,000 fine or five years of probation.