State Rep. Fabián Basabe (R-Florida) finds himself at the center of a whirlwind of controversy. The Florida lawmaker stands accused of sexual harassment by two former male staffers, in a story that’s gaining traction and causing ripples across the political landscape.
One of the accusers, 25-year-old Nicolas Frevola, previously an aide to Basabe, alleges that the congressman slapped him “on the butt at an elementary school career day event,” uttering, “I want all of that.” He also alleges Basabe “slapped” him across the face, subsequently placing him on paid administrative leave following the incident.
Another former staffer, 24-year-old Jacob Cutbirth, claims that before his stint as an intern, Basabe “began to physically touch and grope him and to grab at him to try to kiss him,” despite Cutbirth’s clear discomfort.
What makes this case even more noteworthy is that both Frevola and Cutbirth apparently signed non-disclosure agreements, even though the Florida Legislature does not require such NDAs. When queried about this, Basabe sidestepped the question, stating, “Whatever is in there, is in there. I don’t deal with the hiring process.”
In response to the allegations, Basabe’s attorney, Robert Fernandez, has described the lawsuit as “frivolous and meritless,” suggesting the congressman “will not be litigating this in the media or giving it any more public attention than it deserves — which is none.”
The controversy continues, with Basabe purportedly launching a fiery social media attack on Frevola following an investigative report into the incidents. Basabe accused Frevola of being a “lazy, entitled, unscrupulous, self-involved, ungrateful, lying scum,” as well as referring to him and his mother as a “conning, scheming mother and son duo.”
The lawsuit against Basabe includes the assertion: “As offensive as the statements [made by Basabe are, it is even more shocking that they were made by a public official in response to an investigation of his misconduct while in public office,” suggesting the congressman’s “social media post was retaliatory and intended to keep others from coming forward.”
The plaintiffs, Frevola and Cutbirth, are reportedly seeking “$100,000 in damages.” Amid the furore, Nikki Fried, Chair of the Florida Democratic Party, who described the allegations as “shocking and vile,” has urged Basabe “to resign or for the Florida House to expel him.”