In Secret Recording, One GOP Candidate Threatened Another

Fla.'s William Braddock warned of possible 'hit squad' for Anna Paulina Luna, per Politico
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2021 10:45 AM CDT
Candidate Threatened Rival With Russian- Ukrainian 'Hit Squad'
Anna Paulina Luna speaks before then-President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla., on Oct. 29, 2020.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Days after a Republican congressional candidate in Florida accused a rival of plotting to kill her, the tape is out. "I really don't want to have to end anybody's life for the good of the people of the United States of America ... but if it needs to be done, it needs to be done," William Braddock said in a June 9 phone call with conservative activist Erin Olszewski, who recorded it, per Politico. Braddock is heard telling Olszewski not to support Anna Paulina Luna, the presumed front-runner in the Republican primary for Florida's 13th District, because he could send "a Russian and Ukrainian hit squad" to make Luna "disappear," per Florida Politics. "This is a dirty political tactic," Braddock, who filed as a candidate on Tuesday, tells Politico, claiming there's "no proof" it's him on the call. Politico reports the phone number and voice match with another voicemail recording of Braddock.

Olszewski says she recorded video and audio of the call because of concerns over Braddock's "unhinged" dislike of Luna. "My polling people are going to charge me $20,000 to do a poll right before the primary. And if the poll says Luna's gonna win, she's gonna be gone," Braddock told her, per Politico. "I call up my Russian and Ukrainian hit squad, and within 24 hours, they're sending me pictures of her disappearing." "No snipers. Up close and personal. So they know that the target has gone," he continued, saying he was "dead ass serious." Olszewski tipped off Luna, who obtained a stalking injunction. (Two others named in the injunction, Amanda Makki and Matt Tito, deny any alliance with Braddock.) Olszewski says she also contacted St. Petersburg police, who told her not to be concerned about recording another person without their knowledge, though doing so is a third-degree felony in Florida. (More Florida stories.)

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