For The Record

Voters suing to block Marjorie Taylor Greene from ballot want ‘Marshall law’ text considered

By: - May 3, 2022 1:00 am

Lawyers facing off against Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene say a 2021 text message shows she was less than honest during a courtroom hearing last month. AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool

Lawyers representing voters challenging the candidacy of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene want to introduce new evidence they say undermines Greene’s testimony in a state hearing last month.

The attorneys say a text message from Greene to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sent Jan. 17, 2021, in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol show Greene was less than honest in her responses during cross examination.

“In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law (sic),” she said in a message first published by CNN. “I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him. They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!”

Former President Donald Trump has sought to discredit President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory but has produced no evidence backing his claims. In the days between the election and Biden’s inauguration, top Trump aides reportedly suggested declaring martial law and deploying the military to conduct a new election, an unconstitutional act which would have been unprecedented in American history.

Last month, Greene said she had no knowledge of conversations about martial law with former President Donald Trump or other officials.

“Did you ever advocate for martial law prior to the inauguration of Mr. Biden with any member of the White House staff that was part of the Trump administration?” asked attorney Andrew Celli.

“I don’t recall,” Greene said.

“Are you aware of any other congressional elected congressional representatives advocating for martial law to stop the peaceful transfer of power before the inauguration?” Celli asked.

“I don’t remember,” Greene said.

In a document filed last week with the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings, the attorneys argue that the text cast doubt on Greene’s claims she did not remember discussing martial law.

“Second, the text sheds light on the meaning of her pre-January 6 statements,” the attorneys write. “Eleven days after the failed insurrection, Greene was still fighting against the peaceful transfer of power by advocating extra-legal means. This text, like her statements on January 5, shows the lengths to which she was willing to go to help Mr. Trump remain in power.”

By itself, the text does not prove the lawyers’ central claim, that Greene aided and abetted a rebellion against the government between being sworn into office Jan. 3 and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. They are seeking to revoke her eligibility to run for office under a provision of the 14th Amendment which bars anyone who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States or “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” once they have taken the oath of office.

In a Jan. 7 text message also released by CNN, Greene denounces the violence of Jan. 6, calling it a “terrible day” and expressing a false belief that it was caused by Antifa agent provocateurs.

In the courtroom, her lawyers said she was a victim of the attack, sheltering at the Capitol with other frightened legislators. They accused the voters filing the suit of targeting Greene’s protected speech to prevent voters from having their say, which they said could set a dangerous precedent.

Greene, based in Rome, represents a solid Republican congressional district that represents much of northwest Georgia.

Judge Charles Beaudrot is expected to make a recommendation on whether Greene’s re-election run is constitutional, and Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will have the final say.

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Ross Williams
Ross Williams

Before joining the Georgia Recorder, Ross Williams covered local and state government for the Marietta Daily Journal. His work earned recognition from the Georgia Associated Press Media Editors and the Georgia Press Association, including beat reporting, business writing and non-deadline reporting.