Florida man convicted of antigay death threats to George Santos

George Santos gay former congressman
George Santos gay former congressman
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A gay man in Florida who said he was only exercising his right to free speech was convicted by a federal jury on Thursday of threatening to kill former U.S. Rep. George Santos and his husband last year in a voicemail laced with profanity and antigay slurs.

Frank Stanzione, 53, of Boynton Beach, was convicted of transmitting a threat to kidnap or injure another person in a voicemail he left at the Washington D.C. office of then-Congressman Santos on January 29, 2023, the Department of Justice announced in a statement.

“George Santos you fat f*ck*ng piece of sh*t f*ggo*t," Stanzione said in the voicemail. "You better watch your mother f*ck*ng back because I'm gonna bash your mother f*ck*ng f*gg*t head in with a bat until your brains are splattered across the f*ck*ng wall. You lying, disgusting, disgraceful, motherfucking f*gg*t. You mother f*ck*ng piece of sh*t. You’re gonna get f*ck*ng murdered you g*dd*mn lying piece of garbage. Watch your back you fat, ugly, piece of sh*t. You and your husband are dead.”

Staff reported the message to the United States Capitol Police (USCP) the following morning, January 30, and a cell phone number associated with Stanzione was quickly identified as the source of the call.

When agents arrived the next day, January 31, at the residence of Stanzione in Boynton Beach, he did not deny making the call but instead told officers he left the message to “let him know what a piece of sh*t he was” and to “make him feel like a piece of sh*t.”

According to court documents, Stanzione told arresting officers “he feels offended by Santos and does not want him ‘in his (gay) community;” and that Stanzione was “a long-standing, active advocate for gay rights.”

As part of his defense strategy, Stanzione claimed in a court filing that the prosecution was “retaliatory and vindictive” and “based upon his exercise of political speech related to gay-rights.”

Stanzione also claimed he was exercising a “fundamental constitutional right in his political speech” when he left the voicemail for Santos.

“Congressman Santos (“Santos”) had engaged in several political acts considered by gay-rights activists to be “anti-gay,” and which caused angry political backlash from members (such as the Defendant) in the gay-rights community. The Defendant’s speech in this case was related to, and a voicing of protest related to those acts.”

Stanzione also tried to claim his prosecution was selective, but jurors disagreed and convicted him following a two-day trial. Stanzione is due back in court for sentencing on May 2.