Lawyers for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., argued in a court filing Thursday that a text message she is alleged to have sent shouldn’t be entered into the supplemental record in a case to knock her off the Georgia primary ballot next month because she “has no recollection” of it.
“I am authorized to say on behalf of Rep. Greene that she has no recollection of this text and, since her texts are automatically deleted after 30 days, she has no way to verify anything about it,” said a filing by her lawyers.
Her lawyers further argue that the alleged text is “innocuous.”
The text message in question, which dates to Jan. 17, 2021, appears 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.
The message, which was obtained by CNN, cast doubt over Greene’s testimony at a hearing last week that she couldn’t recall whether she had advocated for martial law to keep President Joe Biden from taking office.
NBC News hasn’t been able to independently confirm all of the text communications, which appear to reveal efforts by Trump officials and the former president’s allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election that go well beyond what was previously known.
“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. 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!” Greene is alleged to have written.
Greene’s lawyers raised doubts Thursday over the authenticity of the messages, which plaintiffs had asked the judge to consider in a filing Tuesday.
“There is no copy of it in its original form, and no verifiable source that CNN claims to have gotten it from. As a result, there is no one to cross-examine and this is hearsay within hearsay,” they wrote.
John Bonifaz, one of the lawyers involved in the challenge to Greene’s candidacy pushed back, telling NBC News Thursday, “that seems to be their claim, that this is just a total lie and never happened, and yet she vigorously is out there defending what the message says.”
Greene’s lawyers said that regardless of its authenticity, the message was still “irrelevant since it has absolutely nothing to do with the January 6th attack on the Capitol, the claimed event of the insurrection, or Rep. Greene’s engagement in it.”
An election and campaign finance reform organization known as Free Speech for People and led by Bonifaz, sued last month on behalf of a group of Georgia voters to remove Greene from the ballot because of the role she is alleged to have played in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Greene testified under oath for nearly four hours as a witness at a hearing last week and was asked whether she had advocated for martial law before Biden’s inauguration.
“I don’t recall,” Greene said repeatedly when she was asked about conversations and social media posts surrounding the election and the attack on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Days before the inauguration she was still engaged in trying to find a way to stop the transition of power,” Bonifaz said. “In our view the evidence is overwhelming that it’s not believable she didn’t remember any of this.”
Attorneys on both sides were given an extended deadline until noon Friday to submit final briefs.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers contended that the correspondence “further undermines Greene’s credibility,” because it resembled “the kind of message with the kind of recipient that a reasonable person testifying truthfully would remember.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, will ultimately decide whether Greene remains on the ballot for the state’s May 24 primary.
Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.