Marjorie Taylor Greene “protected” from arrest over Jan. 6 comment

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is facing calls for her arrest over her comments this weekend about the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, but legal experts say the congresswoman is “protected” from being prosecuted over those remarks.

On Saturday, Greene appeared at a dinner organized by the New York Young Republican Club and said during her speech that if she had organized the attack on the Capitol, “we would have won.”

“Not to mention, we would’ve been armed,” she added.

In response, the White House condemned Greene for boasting “that she would have succeeded in an armed insurrection against the United States government.” Political commentators also called for her arrest, citing sedition, which is formally charged as “seditious conspiracy” under the U.S. criminal code.

However, because sedition is a vaguely defined offense, legal experts say Greene’s comments don’t face any legal repercussions.

Ion Meyn, an assistant law professor at the University of Wisconsin, told Newsweek that although Greene may face negative social consequences for her rhetoric, her comments on an event that has already happened fall under “protected speech.”

“Engaging in hypotheticals about events that already happened is not a crime,” Meyn said.

U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, speaks to members of the press following the House Republican Conference leadership elections, in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on November 15 in Washington, D.C. Inset shows the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Greene is facing calls for her arrest over her comments this weekend about the January 6 Capitol riot.
Alex Wong/Getty; Samuel Corum/Getty

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani agreed, saying the circumstances surrounding her comments also fall short of classifying as seditious conspiracy.

Seditious conspiracy is described by the criminal code as when “two or more persons in [the U.S.] conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States.”

“We don’t have that here,” Rahmani told Newsweek. “It also requires an actual step in furtherance of the conspiracy, and not just words. That requirement isn’t met either.”

“Without more, Greene’s words are just that: words. She can’t be prosecuted for words alone,” he added.

Meyn also cautioned against trying to bend or stretch the definition of terms carrying legal weight because doing so could send democracy down a slippery slope. He said that suggesting Greene is inciting rebellion with her remarks would accept a “sweeping interpretation” that would “introduce us to a darker chapter of our political dysfunction.”

Meyn added that enforcing sedition broadly could also “do serious harm to democracy” by causing a bigger problem—as a threat to free speech.

On Monday, Greene defended her comments as “sarcasm” and accused the Biden administration of “trying to weaponize” her joke.

In a statement shared to social media, the congresswoman said her remarks expressed her support for the Second Amendment and added that she would “never allow the White House, Democrats, or the media to continue to accuse me of something I had nothing to do with.”

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