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'I will be pressing charges': Rep. Matt Gaetz says woman threw drink on him

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A woman was arrested after throwing a glass of wine at Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on Saturday, according to the Walton County Sheriff's Office.

"Walton County Sheriff's Office is confirming reports that our agency responded to an incident at an event in Miramar Beach Saturday involving Representative Matt Gaetz," the sheriff's office wrote in a Facebook post. "A 41-year-old Tallahassee woman, Selena Chambers, was arrested after it was found by responding deputies that she intentionally threw a glass of wine at Representative Gaetz after shouting obscenities at him. She was charged with battery on an elected official and issued a $1,000 bond. She was released the following day."

According to the Pensacola News Journal, the woman was charged with a count of misdemanor battery as well as a count of battery on an elected official, which is a felony in the Sunshine State.

During an episode of his "Firebrand" show, Gaetz said that the incident occurred while he and his wife were at the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival. Gaetz said that the woman threw a drink on him and a man he had been speaking with.

Gaetz plans to press charges. He noted that people have the right to voice their opinion and even criticize public figures. "But if we start allowing stuff to be thrown or hurled, if we allow people to be harmed, there is a severe risk of escalation," he warned.

CNN reported that according to a police report, Chambers claimed "she was walking and tripped and spilled her drink on Representative Gaetz."

"Blaine Odom said he was speaking with Representative Gaetz and saw Selena Chambers swearing loudly at them. Chambers was carrying a drink in her right hand. Chambers thrust the container into the air and the beverage from the drink landed on Representative Gaetz and on Odom's right shoulder," the police report states, according to ABC News. "Chambers then walked away yelling and flipping him off. Odom said he observed the drink land on Representative Gaetz and also on him. Odom said his clothing was soaked from the drink Chambers threw on him. Odom said he wanted to press charges against Chambers."

According to the Associated Press, defense attorney Matthew A. Karp claimed "investigation has initially shown Rep. Gaetz to have been both an aggressor and agitator, and we look forward to taking his deposition." Karp also noted, "My client, Selena Chambers, maintains her innocence in this matter, and we intend to vigorously defend against the allegations of Rep. Gaetz."

"I will never allow the safety of Northwest Floridians to be compromised. I will be pressing charges against this individual in order to uphold the civility our community deserves. Thank you to the Walton County Sheriff's office for taking swift action," Gaetz said, according to a press release.

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