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Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene testifies Friday in an Atlanta court docket for a listening to in a problem filed by voters who say she should not be allowed to hunt reelection due to her function previous to the assault on the U.S. Capitol.

John Bazemore/Pool/AP

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John Bazemore/Pool/AP

Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene testifies Friday in an Atlanta court docket for a listening to in a problem filed by voters who say she should not be allowed to hunt reelection due to her function previous to the assault on the U.S. Capitol.

John Bazemore/Pool/AP

Controversial Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia on Friday defended her feedback forward of the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol whereas testifying beneath oath as a part of a problem to her reelection by voters and a supporting authorized group, who’re searching for to knock her off the poll for her function previous to the riot.

Greene’s look in an Atlanta court docket Friday made her the primary GOP member of Congress to testify publicly about Jan. 6, whilst a Democratic-led committee again in Washington, D.C., has spent months investigating the assault.

Greene was in entrance of an administrative legislation choose as a result of a handful of voters in her district, represented by a nonprofit known as Free Speech For Folks, say Greene must be disqualified as a result of they allege she inspired and supported the rioters who stormed the Capitol.

Whereas on the witness stand, the congresswoman reiterated baseless claims about election fraud, and repeatedly stated that her charged rhetoric forward of Jan. 6 referred to difficult the electoral rely, not a name for violence.

“I do not help violence of any variety,” Greene stated in response to a query. “My phrases by no means ever imply something for violence.”

The courtroom was crowded with Greene’s supporters, who cheered when she entered.

Citing the 14th Modification

Legal professionals with Free Speech For Persons are leaning on a provision within the U.S. Structure that forbids any member of Congress concerned in an riot from serving in workplace. It is a part of the 14th Modification, handed within the years after the Civil Struggle to forestall former Confederates from returning to their seats in Congress.

The authorized idea is generally untested in trendy historical past.

Greene has lengthy deployed violent rhetoric in opposition to her political opponents and has routinely unfold false claims concerning the 2020 election, together with within the leadup to Jan. 6, 2021.

“This was not a case the place the leaders had been on horseback main the cost,” Ron Fein, authorized director for Free Speech for Folks, instructed the choose. “Moderately the leaders of this riot had been amongst us, on Fb, on Twitter, on corners of social media that will make your abdomen flip. The proof will present that Marjorie Taylor Greene was one among them.”

Greene says the problem to her candidacy is a lie and a rip-off designed to remove her constituents’ rights to vote for the candidate of their alternative.

Greene answered many questions Friday about her statements, social media posts and conversations within the days earlier than Jan. 6 with “I do not know” or “I do not recall.”

Requested whether or not her workplace gave excursions to any members of the general public within the days earlier than the riot, or whether or not her marketing campaign or congressional workers offered data or funds to individuals who participated in or organized the riot, she stated no.

‘1776 second’

Legal professionals for Free Speech For Folks pointed to a tweet despatched on Jan. 5, calling the subsequent day a “1776 second,” which is code for political violence in some far-right circles.

Greene instructed the choose she’s by no means heard anybody use “1776” in reference to violence.

The plaintiff’s attorneys additionally performed a January 2021 Fb video wherein Greene stated, “You possibly can’t enable it to only switch energy peacefully like Joe Biden desires and permit him to turn into our president. As a result of he didn’t win this election. It is being stolen.”

In the identical video, Greene inspired folks to come back to Washington as she and different members of Congress ready to object to the certification of the election outcomes.

Greene says the video was taken out of context.

Requested whether or not she advocated to then-President Donald Trump that he impose martial legislation to stay in energy, she stated, “I do not recall.”

Her attorneys argue that not solely is her rhetoric protected political speech, she was a sufferer of the Jan. 6 assault, not a participant.

“The proper to vote is at stake, proper right here, proper now as a result of they wish to deny the best to vote to the 1000’s of individuals within the 14th district of Georgia by eradicating Greene from the poll,” James Bopp, an Indiana-based legal professional for Greene, stated in opening arguments. “These voters have the best to vote for the candidate of their selecting.”

Comparable challenges elsewhere

The same problem to Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s candidacy was tossed out by a choose in North Carolina. A choose on Friday additionally dismissed efforts by the identical group to problem Arizona lawmakers. Appeals have been filed in each.

Greene requested a federal court docket to dismiss her problem, however the choose let the case proceed.

In Georgia, the executive choose will subsequent lay out the information of the case and make a advice to the Georgia secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, about whether or not Greene ought to stay on the poll. Raffensperger is up for reelection himself and faces a high-profile GOP major problem, so he could also be hesitant to make political waves by pulling Greene from the poll earlier than the Could 24 major.

“That is terribly vital stuff,” Decide Charles Beaudrot stated, closing Friday’s listening to.

Beaudrot stated briefings from each events are due midnight Thursday and he’ll goal to launch his advice inside per week of that deadline.

Regardless of the determination, it’s going to virtually definitely be appealed to the next court docket.

Web page Pate, a trial legal professional in Georgia, stated that disqualifying Greene from the poll may not be the challengers’ solely aim.

“They wish to hear her questioned beneath oath, to seek out out what involvement, if any, she had on this riot, and if she makes any false assertion, she could possibly be charged with perjury or maybe another crime,” Pate says.

Greene is well-liked in her north Georgia district, which stretches from the exurbs of Atlanta to the foothills of the Appalachians and the border with Tennessee. It is one of the crucial conservative congressional districts within the nation.

Nancy Hollandchad, a longtime volunteer with Paulding County Republican Ladies, says efforts to tackle Greene solely embolden her supporters.

“She’s my congresswoman, so I do help her,” she says. “I do not like them attempting to maintain Marjorie off the poll. They only do not perceive, they’re galvanizing the district extra in direction of her.”

WABE politics editor Susanna Capelouto contributed reporting.

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