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Decision delayed on permanent injunction sought by Anna Paulina Luna

Testimony for the case began at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Attorneys will present final arguments on Sept. 24.
Anna Paulina Luna appears via Zoom during a June 22 hearing in Clearwater.
Anna Paulina Luna appears via Zoom during a June 22 hearing in Clearwater. [ CHRIS URSO | AP ]
Published Sep. 14
Updated Sep. 15

CLEARWATER — After more than eight hours of testimony about a permanent stalking injunction sought by congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court Judge Doneene Loar ordered a continuance for Sept. 24.

The rollover of Tuesday’s hearing continues a nearly three-month-long process. In June, Luna acquired a temporary injunction for stalking against William Braddock, who she said contacted others in the Pinellas conservative circle threatening Luna and calling her vulgarities.

Luna is a candidate for Florida’s 13th congressional district, a seat that will be vacated by Rep. Charlie Crist, a candidate for governor. The Republican candidate faced Crist, a Democrat, in 2020. Braddock was briefly a congressional candidate before withdrawing.

Congressional candidate William Braddock sits in court.
Congressional candidate William Braddock sits in court. [ Pool Photo ]

In her testimony Tuesday, Luna said she had been sent screenshots of messages where Braddock was speaking about her in an aggressive way but didn’t seek an injunction until she was told about a phone call between him and conservative activist Erin Olszewski.

Olszewski recorded the phone call and passed it along to the St. Petersburg Police Department. In the video, Braddock mentions having access to “hit squads” and threatens Luna, according to the police report. The investigation was closed without arrest because the threats were conditional — Braddock said he would do harm if Luna were ahead in the polls, according to the report.

On Tuesday, Luna said that didn’t reassure her. She mentioned that the stress about Braddock’s threat and the injunction had affected fertility treatments she was undergoing, caused her to lose weight, affected her career and left her unable to sleep peacefully.

Luna was also endorsed by former President Donald Trump on Tuesday. During her testimony, she mentioned that the day’s high profile endorsement put her at the front of the race, making her more of a target for Braddock.

Along with saying Braddock had a threat against her life, in her initial injunction Luna wrote that he was working alongside current candidate Amanda Makki and potential candidate Matt Tito, based on the messages she had seen.

Both Makki and Tito have demanded public apologies from Luna. Neither has been served with an injunction, and the St. Petersburg Police Department report said the two were not conspiring against Luna.

During the hearing, Olszewski’s legal team said Braddock put out a veiled threat to Olszewski, who was being questioned at the time, when Braddock turned on his Zoom camera, moved his jacket and showed the top of his T-shirt. It said, “Roger Stone did nothing wrong.” Luna said the move confirmed to her that Braddock doesn’t respect authority and will try to hurt her.