Anna Paulina Luna says potential political opponents conspired to kill her

Luna said in the injunction that she got word of a plan against her life. The people mentioned say it’s “nonsense.”
Anna Paulina Luna listens as she mingles with supporters during an event Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 in Clearwater.
Anna Paulina Luna listens as she mingles with supporters during an event Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 in Clearwater. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published June 14, 2021|Updated June 23, 2021

Anna Paulina Luna, a candidate for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, has obtained a stalking injunction against one of her soon-to-be opponents, saying he had a plot to kill her and mentioned working alongside two other potential candidates.

Luna previously ran against Charlie Crist in 2020 for the seat that covers southern Pinellas County and lost. She obtained the temporary injunction against William Braddock, a 37-year-old St. Petersburg resident who said he plans to register Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission as a Republican candidate for the congressional seat.

“Ms. Luna has no comment at this time due to multiple ongoing law enforcement investigations of this matter,” said James Blair, a spokesperson for Luna. “Those investigations are based upon Mr. Braddock’s own threats and actions, and we are confident the facts will be public at the appropriate time.”

In her petition for an injunction, Luna says she is a congressional candidate and was the Republican nominee for the 2020 cycle.

“I received information yesterday (at midnight) regarding a plan (with a timeline) to murder me made by William Braddock in an effort to prevent me from winning the election for FL-13,” Luna wrote.

Related: The evolution of Anna Paulina Luna, Republican candidate for Congress

In the injunction, which was served to Braddock on Friday, she says Braddock and her “political opponents” Matt Tito and Amanda Makki know where she lives. She says Braddock is working alongside the two to “take her out,” which she says he clarified to mean he intends to kill her.

Tito and Makki were mentioned in the injunction Braddock received but say they have not been served with one. Tito lost a race for the Florida House of Representatives in 2020 and Makki lost to Luna in the 2020 congressional primary.

Luna says Braddock sought interaction with her twice, once in coordination with Tito, and sought out her husband, Andy Gamberzky.

Braddock said he doesn’t even have Luna’s number and has only been around her in person once — at a meeting hosted by a local Community Patriots organization. Braddock said he shook Luna’s husband’s hand at that event, thanked him for his service and said he’d be one of the candidates against Luna.

“This woman is off her rocker and she does not need to be representing anyone,” Braddock said.

In the petition, Luna references case files with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Petersburg Police Department. The agencies said they could not provide documents because the case is still open.

The injunction prohibits Braddock from going to Conservative Grounds, a coffee shop in Largo that often hosts conservative groups, or to any event where Luna — who described herself as a conservative activist who travels for work — is speaking.

“I feel and fear that this is an orchestrated attempt on my life being organized and carried out by William Braddock and he claims he is working together with Ms. Makki and Mr. Tito,” she wrote in the petition.

A hearing on extending the injunction is set for June 22.

“I don’t really have any plans to prepare because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Braddock said. “It is a false police report and she’s probably going to jail for filing a false police report.”

Braddock said he received notice of another injunction Friday from Erin Olszewski, a nurse and author of the Undercover Epicenter Nurse book, who says in a petition that she fears for her life and Luna’s. In a copy of Olszewski’s injunction that Braddock provided to the Times, Olszewski said Braddock contacted one of her friends to ask for her information after attending an event she spoke at May 27. Braddock said he wanted her information to invite her to a health care reform roundtable he was planning to host.

In her petition, Olszewski says Braddock told her she would be “collateral” if she was around Luna.

In Olszewski’s petition, she references a threatening conversation she recorded where Braddock says he’ll make Luna “disappear.” But Braddock said anything he told her was a reference to the race and not a threat — like taking her out of the primary. It was not clear what Olszewski’s relationship is to Luna.

When reached by phone, Olszewski declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation.

In 2008, his ex-fiance filed a petition in Orange County for a temporary injunction against Braddock, which was dismissed. He said that case was filed after a contentious breakup and had no merit.

Related: Republican Anna Paulina Luna has a history of clashing with Twitter

Makki ran against Luna in the 2020 primary. She is not currently in the race to represent the congressional district, but said if Luna can’t handle running against another candidate, she doesn’t have the temperament to be in politics. She said the information in Luna’s petition is “nonsense.”

“I mean I really think that she’s exhibiting behavior that I would say is concerning,” Makki said.

Matt Tito ran against Ben Diamond in 2020 for the District 68 Florida House seat and is considering running against Luna for the 13th Congressional District.

On May 26, Tito and Luna got into disputes while appearing on a radio show together. Tito pressed Luna on having photos taken in uniform after she left military service — a discussion point that Braddock called in and brought up. In the petition, Luna mentions May 26 as a day when Braddock sought out interaction with her and coordinated with Tito.

After the show, Tito said he told Luna there were no hard feelings, but he said she yelled at him and told him not to do that again.

He said Saturday that Luna should suspend her campaign and drop out of the race, calling her unfit for office. He said he’s talking to a lawyer about a defamation claim because she named him in her petition for injunction.

“Her goal was to embarrass us, it was to get us to keep us out of the race, to intimidate us,” Tito said. “She’s been rewarded for bad behavior over and over and over again so she continues to act this way.”

Tito said he knows Braddock through political circles and also considers Makki an acquaintance, although he says he doesn’t talk often to either of them. He said he doesn’t know what text messages or screenshots Luna is referring to, but it has nothing to do with him.

“I’m shocked but it’s kind of like this is what she does,” Tito said. “She can’t debate you on the policy issues. She plays the victim better than anybody I’ve ever seen.”

Clarification: Anna Paulina Luna said William Braddock had a plot to kill her and mentioned working alongside two other potential candidates. An earlier version of this story was unclear on who mentioned the plan.