Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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    Marjorie Taylor Greene testifying at reelection disqualification hearing

    Greene is testifying as a witness during the marathon hearing — making her the first lawmaker to testify under oath about their involvement in the insurrection. She is currently on the stand, was sworn in and is being questioned by lawyers for the voter who challenged her candidacy.

    At the disqualification hearing, Greene said under oath that she “had no knowledge of any attempt” to illegally interfere with the counting of the electoral votes on January 6.

    Greene also testified that she believes President Joe Biden lost the election to Trump.

    “We saw a tremendous amount of voter fraud,” Greene said, repeating a debunked claim that has become a rallying cry among Trump supporters.

    The outcome of this case will reverberate beyond Georgia, because similar challenges are pending against other Republican officials and could be lodged against former President Donald Trump if he runs again in 2024.

    The firebrand GOP lawmaker is in the courtroom with one of her close congressional allies, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is sitting with her legal team. Greene walked in to a rousing applause and cheers from the crowd assembled in the courtroom. A court security official quickly chastised the room and said outbursts would not be tolerated.

    The case resolves around a Civil War-era provision of the Fourteenth Amendment, which says any American official who takes an oath to uphold the Constitution is disqualified from holding any future office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” But how this applies to today is a hotly debated legal question.

    Lawyers for the challengers argued Greene “helped facilitate violent resistance” against the US government, and said they will use her own words against her, such as her strident rhetoric in the run-up to January 6 that urged people to oppose the peaceful transition of power and to have a “1776 moment.”

    “This was not the type of insurrection where the leaders were standing in Richmond, Virginia, giving long-winded speeches to justify the name,” said Ron Fein, a lawyer for the challengers, form the legal advocacy group Free Speech For People. “Rather the leaders of this insurrection, of whom there were a number, were among us on Facebook, on Twitter, on corners of social media that would make your stomach hurt. The evidence will show that Marjorie Taylor Greene was one of them.”

    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is seen testifying on Friday in Atlanta.
    Several of Greene’s constituents in her northwest Georgia district initiated the challenge last month with backing from a coalition of liberal activists and constitutional scholars. They claim Greene aided the insurrection by promoting voter fraud myths, posting videos before January 6 railing against the peaceful transfer of power, and allegedly coordinating with protest organizers.

    The burden of proof will be on the challengers, to show by a “more likely than not” standard that January 6, 2021 was legally an insurrection, and that Greene helped the insurrectionists. State Judge Charles Beaudrot will preside over the administrative hearing and will issue a recommendation to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on whether Greene should be disqualified.

    Greene’s lawyer James Bopp Jr., in his opening statements, condemned the proceedings and said that Greene’s constitutional rights were being violated. He also said Greene would be significantly harmed if she is disqualified before the May primary, only to win an appeal later on, after the election was held.

    “Our democracy is at stake. It should not be, it should be the voters, not government employees, public officials, judges and lawyers, who decide our elections,” Bopp said. “Voters have a right to vote for the candidate of their choice, unless there was very compelling legal, not rhetorical justification for that. Third, and which is not present here.”

    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene enters the courtroom, Friday, April 22, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool)

    Greene can appeal Raffensperger’s decision in state courts. She has vehemently denied any wrongdoing regarding the insurrection at the US Capitol, maintains that she “never encouraged political violence” and says she wasn’t involved in planning any protests. Her lawyer told CNN that he thinks Friday’s hearing is a “show trial” and that the entire procedure is an egregious violation of her rights.

    It’s notable that the disqualification hearing is even happening. Greene filed a federal lawsuit to shut down the state process — which is how GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn fended off a similar candidacy challenge in North Carolina. But in a blistering 75-page ruling on Monday, a federal judge rejected many of Greene’s legal arguments and allowed the state case to move forward.
    The anti-Greene challenge is backed by Free Speech for People, a legal advocacy group, and Our Revolution, the left-wing group founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Greene, who has become infamous for peddling far-right conspiracies, has found support from some conservative legal experts and from Trump himself, who released a lie-filled statement praising her on Thursday.

    This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Friday.

    CNN’s Christian Sierra and Sonnet Swire contributed to this report.



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