Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told a Georgia judge hearing an effort to block her from the ballot in her re-election bid that she urged people to join a “peaceful march” on January 6, 2021, which will is turned into a violent assault on the United States Capitol.
A group of voters have launched a new legal challenge to Greene’s re-election bid, arguing that the supporter of former President Donald Trump violated a provision of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution known as the “deprivation clause”. disqualification of the insurgents”.
The clause, passed after the American Civil War in the 1860s, bars politicians from running for Congress if they have engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” or “provided aid or comfort” to enemies of the nation. nation.
“I was asking people to come out for a peaceful march, which everyone has the right to do,” Greene said. “I was not asking them to actively engage in violence.”
Andrew Celli, a voters’ attorney, cross-examined Greene, who at times could not recall past statements she had made that were captured on video or audio – including urging Trump to impose martial law and a video Facebook post in which she called House Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi a betrayal and pointed out that treason was “a crime punishable by death.”
Greene initially denied making the statement about Pelosi, but later admitted it under questioning by Celli and the judge.
James Bopp, Greene’s attorney. argued that the statement was “hyperbole” and unrelated to the case.
But Greene appeared puzzled when Celli asked her if she advocated political violence against people she disagreed with.
“I don’t think so,” Greene replied. “I don’t know what to say to that.”
Friday’s hearing ended without the judge rendering a decision.
In media interviews, Greene downplayed and justified the assault on Capitol Hill by Trump supporters in their failed bid to block Congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Greene said that month that Democrats and reporters had pushed for “over-dramatization” of the events of that day.
Celli played a clip from an interview Greene did on January 5, 2021, in which she said preventing certification was “our moment of 1776” – an apparent reference to the signing of the States Declaration of Independence -United. When asked by Celli if she knew some Trump supporters were using the remark as a call for violence, Greene said that was not her intention and that she meant her intention to oppose the certification of electoral votes.
“I was talking about the courage to stand up,” she said.
Seeking re-election this year
Bopp argued during her opening remarks that removing her from the ballot would be both unfair to her and to voters in her conservative-leaning district.
“Fundamentally, First Amendment rights are at stake, not just the right to vote, as I mentioned, or the right to run for office,” Bopp said.
He called it a “political show trial” in his closing statement.
In Greene’s defense, he then released a video she recorded after the capitol breach in which she urged protesters to be peaceful.
But under cross-examination of Celli, she could not testify to any occasion between the 2020 election and Jan. 6 in which she urged those protesting the election outcome to be peaceful.
Greene is seeking re-election this year. The Republican primary is scheduled for May 24 and the general election for November 8.
Mail-in ballots will begin mailing on April 25.
The voter challenge is led by a group called Free Speech for People which advocates for campaign finance reform. Similar efforts by the group involving Republican Congressman from North Carolina Madison Cawthorn and three Republican representatives from Arizona have been dismissed by the courts.
Greene is expected to appeal any ruling against him and has already filed a parallel lawsuit in US federal court seeking to have the administrative proceedings stopped.
Georgia is also the site of the Trump-linked grand jury
The actions of Trump allies on or before Jan. 6 have come under scrutiny, with a congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot set to hold televised hearings in May.
Late Thursday, Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, came under fire from his own party after an audio recording showed him saying Trump should resign over the Capitol riot.
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The comments, which McCarthy denied hours before the recording was released, could undermine his widely publicized ambition to become Speaker of the House next year if Republicans take control of the chamber in the midterm elections of November, which many are predicting.
Trump’s actions are also being scrutinized by that House committee, while his communications with Georgia officials after the 2020 election will come before a special grand jury in that state, with testimony expected in June. Trump’s early January 2021 phone call with Georgia officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, saw him pleading with them to “find” votes that would allow him to surpass Biden.
In a statement Thursday, Trump falsely accused Raffensperger and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, both Republicans, of allowing the challenge against Greene, saying she was “going through hell in their attempt to unseat her.”