Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) wants a harsh punishment for the person who tossed a drink at him back in June.
Amanda Kondrat’yev, the Florida woman who threw the drink, will be sentenced in federal court next week after pleading guilty in August to assault of a U.S. member of Congress. She faces a $100,000 fine, five years of probation or up to a year in prison, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
Ahead of Kondrat’yev’s sentencing hearing, Gaetz sent a letter to U.S. District Court in Pensacola on Wednesday asking the court to sentence her “to some time of incarceration.”
In the letter, first obtained by the Pensacola News Journal, the Republican argued that the court needed to make an example out of Kondrat’yev through severe punishment.
“Only incarceration allows me to reinforce to my supporters and opponents alike that Free Speech is welcomed – but assault will not be tolerated,” Gaetz wrote. “If the defendant is not subject to some incarceration, then word will be out that a first assault is functionally ‘free.'”
Kondrat’yev threw the drink at Gaetz amid a crowd of protesters as he was leaving a town hall in June, a move that echoed a series of protests in the U.K. at the time that involved dumping milkshakes on far-right politicians, such as Nigel Farage.
Read the full letter below:
“I ask the court to sentence the Defendant to some time of incarceration.
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.
Risk to everyone – federal officials, citizens and even law enforcement are heightened when an event transitions from a political expression to an assault.
My 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. 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.’
This will make my events, my staff and my constituents less safe.”