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.
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.”
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.”
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.
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Friday.
CNN’s Christian Sierra and Sonnet Swire contributed to this report.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: The Bloggers Briefing