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COVID Denial and the Influence of the Posse Comitatus: Anthony Sabatini

IREHR Special Report: Breaching the Mainstream


COVID Denial and the Influence of the Posse Comitatus: Anthony Sabatini

(R-Florida House of Representatives, District 32)

Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini provides an example of the radicalization seen in the overlapping Stop the Steal and COVID Denial mobilizations. As captured in this report, in 2020, Sabatini joined five COVID Denial, and six Stop the Steal groups. Also that year, Sabatini joined the Posse Comitatus-influenced Constitutional Grassroots Movement.

In keeping with his Stop the Steal memberships, Sabatini pushed election conspiracies and a bill for an election audit in Florida (where Donald Trump won) because, he alleged, several counties had double-scanned ballots “or did things that are far, far worse than that.”[57] Almost three weeks after the election, Sabatini tweeted, “I’m extremely thankful Biden lost in 2020;” in December 2020, he tweeted, “Stop the Steal.”[58]

Sabatini’s COVID Denial activism took him into the realm of Posse-Influenced politics. For instance, he joined the group, ReOpen South Florida (3,070 members). Under the name “Chris Paul,” Florida People’s Rights network activist Chris Nelson is a group administrator.[59] Sabatini appeared in an interview on Nelson’s ReOpen America Podcast and was announced as a speaker along with Nelson and People’s Rights figure Rachael Love Cohen at a 2020 Florida COVID Denial rally.[60]

Sabatini has a long history of racial insensitivity. In his younger days, Sabatini dressed in blackface and as a stereotype of a Mexican.[61] Then, when Confederate statues began to be taken down across the South, he declared that the “solemn” Confederate monuments facing removal “can find a home” in Eustis, where he served as a City Commissioner.[62]

In May 2020, Sabatini joined the Constitutional Grassroots Movement (7,029 members), a group whose administrator, the Constitutional Grassroots Movement Facebook page, frequently posts material from KrisAnne Hall.[63] For his part, Sabatini applied nullification and Posse-style approaches to COVID-19, writing in September 2021, “Today I submitted a Bill (bill draft #79925) which will NULLIFY Biden’s forthcoming vaccine mandate. ANY federal employee in Florida imposing the mandate will be arrested and prosecuted under Florida state law.”[64]

As Black Lives Matter demonstrations against police racism and violence were unfolding across the country, Sabatini posted a photo of an AR-15 rifle on Facebook, writing, “Attention potential ‘protesters’ coming near Lake County, FL.  This is an AR-15—this will be a very common sight upon illegal entry at any Lake County business—FYI!.”[65]

Sabatini promoted a “Constitutional Carry Rally” featuring himself and Luis Valdes, Florida Director of militia advocate Larry Pratt’s Gun Owners of America.[66] Far-right “constitutionalist” KrisAnne Hall, who refers to Sabatini as her “friend,” engaged in COVID Denial activism with Sabatini, speaking at a June 2020 event with the far-right legislator and writing, “WE WON the Florida mask mandate appeal TODAY! Bravo all who fought!… Congratulations to my friend Anthony Sabatini—Thank you for letting me join you in this fight for #LibertyFirst.”[67]

In November 2021, Sabatini described his and KrisAnne Hall’s joint COVID Denial activism:

“Just spoke to 400+ patriots from around Florida at a rally in Tallahassee in support of a TOTAL BAN on private sector vaccine and mask mandates! Then, constitutional activist KrisAnne Hall, JD and I led the whole crowd through the State Capitol building demanding a meeting with all legislative leaders—calling on them to go on the record in support of a FULL ban.”[68]

Sabatini had attended the far-right National Conservatism conference in Orlando the previous month.[69]


Two: The Legislators


Four: The Far-Right Groups


[57] Stanton, Andrew. Anthony Sabatini Justifies Push for Florida Election Audit, Claims ‘Corrupt Counties’ Cheated. Newsweek. September 5, 2021.; Zhao, Christina. Trump Ally State Rep. Anthony Sabatini Filing Bill to Audit 2020 Election in Florida. September 4, 2021.

[58] Sabatini, Rep. Anthony. Twitter. November 26, 2020.; Sabatini, Rep. Anthony. Twitter. December 8, 2020.

[59] ReOpen South Florida. Facebook. Members.; Paul, Chris. Facebook. March 29, 2022. Paul, Chris. Facebook. March 29, 2022.; Paul, Chris. Facebook. March 29, 2022.

[60] Paul, Chris. Facebook. November 8, 2021.; Cohen, Love. Facebook. Posted in ReOpen South Florida. October 9, 2022.;  Central Florida Unity Rally. Facebook. October 9, 2022.; ReOpen America Podcast. Ep 21: Bevelyn Beatty, Edmee Chavannes and State Rep Anthony Sabatini Join Me! July 7, 2020.  Accessed March 30, 2022; Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. PEOPLE’S RIGHTS – FLORIDA. In Ammon’s Army: Inside the Far-Right People’s Rights Network.

[61] Sartois, Katie. Dems want Sabatini out. Daily Commercial. February 8, 2019.

[62] Sabatini, Anthony. Facebook. August 24, 2017.

[63] Constitutional Grassroots Movement. Facebook. Search for “krisanne”. Accessed March 21, 2022.

[64] Sabatini, Rep. Anthony. Twitter. September 10, 2021.

[65] Sabatini, Anthony. Facebook. May 30, 2020.

[66] Sabatini, Anthony. Facebook. February 14, 2022.

[67] Hall, KrisAnne. Facebook. June 11, 2021.; Hall, KrisAnne. Facebook. June 29, 2020.

[68] Sabatini, Anthony. Facebook. November 3, 2021.

[69] Sabatini, Anthony. Facebook. October 31, 2021.

Breaching the Mainstream

A National Survey of Far-Right Membership in State Legislatures

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