“Florida woman allegedly hurls drink at Rep. Matt Gaetz during wine festival”
Selena Chambers, a 41-year-old woman from Tallahassee, was arrested over the weekend for throwing a drink at Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz during a wine festival in Miramar Beach, Florida. The incident resulted in one count of misdemeanor battery and one felony count of battery on an elected official. Chambers has pleaded not guilty and has been released on bond.
In a statement posted on his website Tuesday, Gaetz praised Walton County Sheriff’s Office for taking swift action, and emphasized he would pursue charges against the accused individual to uphold the standards of civility that the community deserved. While the trial is scheduled to take place in the coming months, Chambers has already dismissed the allegations, saying that she intends to vigorously defend herself against them.
Matthew Karp, Chambers’ legal representative, said that an initial investigation by his team has shown that Rep. Gaetz was the aggressor and agitator in a verbal altercation between the congressman’s group and women attending the festival. The exact details of the altercation remain unclear, with both parties claiming to have been subject to unprovoked verbal abuse.
According to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office police report, Gaetz told officers at the scene on Saturday that Chambers and another woman were “cursing” at the congressman and his family. Gaetz said Chambers then threw a drink, which hit him in the left shoulder. Another person at the event, who was speaking to Gaetz at the time, also claimed to have been hit and “soaked” from the drink. That individual told police that Chambers then “walked away” while “yelling and flipping him off.”
Despite the alleged incident, neither Gaetz nor the man he was speaking with were injured in the altercation, and both parties have since moved on. In 2019, Gaetz was similarly hit with a drink during a town hall meeting in a Pensacola restaurant after a woman threw a sports drink at him. The incident led to Amanda Kondrat’yev receiving a 15-day federal custody sentence.
Congressman Gaetz has been a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, and a member of the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus in the House. Earlier this year, Gaetz announced that the Justice Department had decided not to file charges against him following a long-running sex-trafficking investigation. The congressman remains an influential political figure in Florida and around the nation.