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A Florida state legislator is facing what he described as a “bogus” ethics complaint in retaliation for filing scores of lawsuits against various coronavirus mask mandates.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a Republican representing the state’s 32nd district, and a captain in the Florida Army National Guard, said the complaint, filed by Peter Schorsch, a blogger at Florida Politics, is politically motivated.
“Unhinged far-left bloggers are filing fake ethics complaints to try to stop people like myself who are fighting back against the lawless and corrupt local governments that are eroding our civil liberties,” Sabatini told The Gateway Pundit.
“They will stop at nothing in their attempt to damage and discredit conservatives and anyone who wishes to resist the new government power grabs. They are sick and disturbed people,” he added.
In a post at his blog site Florida Politics, Schorsch wrote that Sabatini “is facing an ethics complaint in connection to a Broward County lawsuit he filed challenging the county’s mask mandate, one of several he’s filed statewide.
“The complaint alleges Sabatini is inappropriately using his official House email to respond to press inquiries regarding the lawsuit, filed in his capacity as a private attorney, not an elected official,” he added. “The complainant? Me. I just returned from FedEx, where I overnighted the complaint to the Commission on Ethics.”
Schorsch claims that the Florida lawmaker is abusing his office by filing private lawsuits using government resources.
As an example, he cited a tweet from Sabatini containing a statement from one of his clients, a Broward County gym owner, who was arrested and jailed because one person in his gym was not wearing a mask.
My client just released this statement regarding his unlawful arrest, which occurred just 2 days after we filed a lawsuit against @browardinfo County Government.
They targeted him, shut his business down, and kept him in police custody for 12+ hours. pic.twitter.com/p9XJ87fl1t
— Rep. Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) July 28, 2020
“My client just released this statement regarding his unlawful arrest, which occurred just 2 days after we filed a lawsuit against @browardinfo County Government. Totally retaliation. They targeted him, shut his business down, and kept him in police custody for 12+ hours,” Sabatini wrote.
In the statement, gym owner Mike Carnevale directs the media to contact Sabatini via his official House email.
“The complainant argues using the official email, rather than a private email address Sabatini also uses, violates Florida State Statute regarding misuse of public position,” Schorsch wrote.
He then quoted Florida State Statute that reads:
No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney shall corruptly use or attempt to use his or her official position or any property or resource which may be within his or her trust, or perform his or her official duties, to secure a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself, herself, or others.
“The complaint also alleges Sabatini violated House Rules, which dictate a similar requirement,” the blogger continued.
During back-and-forth on social media, Sabatini criticized Schorsch for allegedly getting his complaint wrong.
Lol, you dummy—don’t you realize this is the opposite of what you are alleging?
The controversy would have been been including a *private email on an *official media release—this is the opposite. The person who wrote it put a *government email (incorrectly) on a *private release.
— Rep. Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) July 29, 2020
“Lol, you dummy—don’t you realize this is the opposite of what you are alleging? The controversy would have been [sic] including a *private email on an *official media release—this is the opposite. The person who wrote it put a *government email (incorrectly) on a *private release,” he wrote on Twitter.
“We’ll see you at the Commission! But you might want to delete the photo of the ‘incorrect’ document YOU tweeted from YOUR twitter account,” Schorsch responded.
“lol when you sober up, you’ll realize that you mixed the 2 things up. Better luck next time!” Sabatini responded, adding what appears to be a Broward County Sheriff booking photo of Schorsch for driving under the influence.
lol when you sober up, you’ll realize that you mixed the 2 things up. Better luck next time!
— Rep. Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) July 29, 2020
“How original. How’s your arrested client doing? How’s your former client, the arrested tax collector of Seminole Co. doing? How is that Leon Co. lawsuit going? How are any of them going? You’re a loser,” Schorsch replied.
How’s your arrested client doing?
How’s your former client, the arrested tax collector of Seminole Co. doing?
How is that Leon Co. lawsuit going? How are any of them going?
You’re a loser.
— Peter Schorsch (@PeterSchorschFL) July 29, 2020
In an op-ed for the Washington Times, Cheryl K. Chumley noted that Florida face mask mandates have resulted in “terrorizing citizens, sending them to jail, stripping them of their most basic civil, human rights. For face masks. For failing or refusing to wear face masks.”
She went on to quote Sabatini, who noted on Twitter that in Key West, “if you step out of your front door without a mask, you will be punished with 60 days of jail.
“The mayor has become a radical dictator and is acting with NO legal authority,” he added.
Sabatini noted online he has sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) urging him to issue an executive order banning Florida jurisdictions from implementing mandatory mask-wearing.
Today I sent a letter to @GovRonDeSantis urging to him to issue an Executive Order to STOP the local government criminal mask laws.
A Broward County business owner was arrested today, harassed by police, and brought to jail—its time to end the abuse of power by local government. pic.twitter.com/1l74HY7ffU
— Rep. Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) July 27, 2020
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