Metro Weekly

Gay Man Convicted of Threatening to Kill George Santos

Frank Stanzione, of Boynton Beach, Florida, could face up to five years in prison for a threatening, expletive-laced voicemail.

The words from the threatening voicemail left by a Florida man on former Congressman George Santos’s voicemail.

A federal jury in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, found a local man guilty of threatening to kill former U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Following a two-day trial, the jury found Frank Stanzione, 53, of Boynton Beach, guilty of transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to kidnap or injure another person for leaving an expletive-laden message on the voicemail of the former congressman’s Washington office. 

According to prosecutors, Stanzione called the office from his home on January 29, 2023, and began recording a message in which he called Santos, a “fat fucking piece of shit fucker.”

“You better watch your mother fucking back because I’m gonna bash your motherfucking f****t head in with a bat until your brains are splattered across the fucking wall. You lying, disgusting, disgraceful mother fucking f****t. You mother fucking piece of shit. You’re gonna get fucking murdered you goddamn lying piece of garbage,” Stanzione said in the voicemail. “Watch your back, you fat, ugly piece of shit.”

Stanzione then leveled one final threat against Santos and his husband, saying that both man “are dead.”

Santos’s staff reported the threatening voicemail to the U.S. Capitol Police, who opened an investigation the following day. They determined the phone call had been made from a number assigned to Stanzione. 

Special agents from the U.S. Capitol Police traveled to Stanzione’s home in Boynton Beach and questioned him, confirming that he had left the voicemail.

Stanzione, a self-described “long-standing, active advocate for gay rights,” said he left the voicemail to make the former congressman “feel like a piece of shit,” according to court documents.

Stanzione also said that he was “offended by Santos” and some of the stances he had taken on gay issues — perhaps referring to Santos’s stated support for Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill or his rhetoric calling opponents of drag bans “groomers” — and did not want Santos to be associated with the gay community. 

Stanzione’s voicemail also appeared to reference Santos’s alleged lack of truthfulness and admitted biographical fabrications, in which Santos claimed to have Jewish heritage, have worked at prominent financial firms, to have graduated from, and participated on the volleyball team, at a New York college, and to have lost a parent in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, etc.

Stanzione argued in court motions that his threats against Santos were a form of “political speech” protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech, and should not be prosecuted. But U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith ultimately rejected those arguments. 

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice did not say how much time Stanzione might serve in jail. However, under the law he is alleged to have broken, Stanzione could face up to five years in jail, in addition to a fine. He is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on May 2. 

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