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Woman who threw drink at GOP congressman sentenced to 15 days

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By Elisha Fieldstadt  with NBC News Politics
Image: Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Oct.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Oct. 30, 2019.   -   Copyright  Andrew Harnik AP file

A Florida woman who threw a drink at a Republican congressman was sentenced to 15 days in federal custody.

Amanda Kondrat'yev was sentenced Monday in connection with her throwing a red drink at Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., as he was leaving an event at a Pensacola restaurant, according to court documents. She pleaded guilty in August to assault on a member of Congress.

The drink hit Gaetz in the chest and torso area, according to a criminal complaint.

A special detail officer, who was guarding Gaetz during the event at Brewhaha restaurant on June 1, saw the drink fly through the air from a group of protesters, but didn't see who threw it. A witness said it was Kondrat'yev who threw the drink, according to the complaint.

Kondrat'yev tried to leave the scene, but the officer accompanying Gaetz detained her, the complaint said. The officer reported that Kondrat'yev was holding a sign that said, "Gaetz - wipe the blood from your hands, A rating - NRA, save our kids vote Gaetz out in 2020."

Kondrat'yev ran as a Democrat in 2016 for the seat that Gaetz won representing the state's 1st Congressional District which encompasses Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle. She withdrew from the race.

Gaetz appeared at Kondrat'yev's sentencing hearing, asking for jail time, her lawyer Eric Stevenson told NBC News on Tuesday.

"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," Gaetz said in a pre-sentencing statement provided by Stevenson.

"Only incarceration allows me to reinforce to my supporters and opponents alike that Free Speech is welcomed — but assault will not be tolerated," Gaetz said.

Stevenson said he was "disappointed that Mr. Gaetz pushed for imprisonment as a sentence."

Kondrat'yev faced up to a year in prison, but Stevenson said the judge recognized that "this was aberrant behavior on Ms. Kondrat'yev's part."

"While we were asking for no jail time, we are glad the judge went below the guidelines," Stevenson said.

Kondrat'yev is due to begin her sentence on Dec. 2.

Gaetz' office did not respond to requests for comment regarding the sentencing. The prosecutor on the case also did not respond to a request for comment.