Lawyers representing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in a legal battle to keep her name on the primary ballot in Georgia argued in a court filing Friday that the Republican lawmaker played no direct role in the Jan. 6 riot, but instead has become a victim of the attack on the Capitol.
Greene's lawyers claimed that Free Speech for People, an election and campaign finance organization, had promoted a political smear campaign against Republicans in a lawsuit filed by a group of Georgia voters seeking to remove Greene from the ballot.
Greene was not a participant in the January 6th violence - she was a victim, her attorneys said.
Free Speech for People says that Greene should not be running for Congress, arguing that she violated the Fourteenth Amendment by engaging in an insurrection.
Greene's words and actions — her efforts to delegitimize the very government she was about to join, her violent imagery — was the kindling from which the January 6 insurrection exploded, they wrote in a post-hearing memo Friday.
Georgia's GOP primary is scheduled for May 24.
Greene's lawyers said on Friday that the legal challenge against her candidacy threatened to curtail First Amendment rights, was profoundly undemocratic and an infringement of voters' rights.
They argued that Greene did not qualify as an incitement and there is absolutely no evidence that she committed any direct overt act of insurrection.
They said that Greene was not afforded traditional discovery to test the authenticity of their factual assertions. Her lawyers had raised doubts in an earlier filing about the authenticity of text messages obtained by CNN that appeared to show Greene telling then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that some GOP lawmakers were saying President Donald Trump should call for martial law.
Greene's attorneys later argued that she had no recollection of the text message.
The plaintiffs had asked the judge to treat the text communication as evidence that Greene was an unreliable witness in the case before the court.
NBC News hasn't been able to independently confirm all of the text communications, which appear to show Trump's allies trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in ways that go well beyond what was previously known.
Greene testified at a hearing last week under oath for nearly four hours and was asked whether she had advocated for martial law before President Joe Biden's inauguration.
I don't remember, Greene said repeatedly when asked about conversations and social media posts surrounding the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 riot.
Greene's lawyers argued in Friday's filing that only those who illegally entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 and engaged in illegal activities in the Capitol could be considered insurrectionists. Her lawyers said that because Greene had posted tweets and a video while she was sequestered during the riot, she urged people to stay peaceful. She could not be considered an insurrectionist if she did not obey the laws.
That line of defense was rejected by attorneys for Free Speech for People.
She half-heartedly asked her followers to back off after she urged her followers to burn down the house, but it is no defense that she half-heartedly asked her to back off when the nation watched the fire in horror and the flames got too close to her. Her single, belated message does not negate her responsibility for urging the rebellion in the first place. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, will decide whether Greene can remain on the ballot.