MIAMI (CBSMiami) — After a Florida lawmaker was threatened online, his potential opponent in the upcoming Senate primary said he wants to represent the man who allegedly made the threat.
The suspect behind the threat against Florida Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R-Miami) was arrested earlier this week. He apparently had a bone to pick with the Republican party.
“Marco Rubio! Nelson Diaz! Manny Diaz! Manny Diaz Junior! Carlos Gimenez! (Julio) Robaina!”
Steve St. Felix, 34, rattled off a list of Republicans in a courtroom outburst on Thursday, at a hearing to evaluate his mental health.
In a Facebook post days earlier, police said St. Felix threatened to kill Rep. Diaz if he attended the next Republican Executive Committee meeting.
“I’ll kill your [expletive] and you better not show up to the next REC meeting,” the post stated.
Rep. Diaz is running for Florida Senate District 40 later this year. So is Miami attorney Lorenzo Palomares. The seat became vacant after Republican Frank Artiles resigned in April.
In an odd twist, Palomares wants to defend St. Felix’s case. And he’d do it for free.
“I’d be honored to represent him pro bono,” Palomares told CBS4’s Vanessa Borge. “And the reason being is that I believe what Mr. Diaz did was a publicity stunt. Because he’s presumed to know the law.”
Palomares believes Rep. Diaz turned the threat into a bigger issue than it was for attention ahead of the July 25th primary.
“There was no reasonable expectation of fear by Mr. Diaz and what they’re doing is using Mr. St. Felix for political purposes,” the attorney added.
“But aren’t you doing the same by saying that you will represent St. Felix pro bono,” Borge asked.
“Well, yes and no,” Palomares replied. “I am a member of the bar. I’m a constitutional attorney and I don’t believe there was a crime here committed.”
But if the situation was reversed and Palomares’ life was threatened, would he feel different?
“Not at all, I’d just block him. That’s all you have to do, block him,” he said.
St. Felix’s bond is set at $500,000. Palomares thinks that’s unfair. While he hasn’t heard from St. Felix yet, he said he’s waiting for the call.