A federal judge on Tuesday denied Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) request that a New York man convicted of threatening her pay the roughly $65,000 cost of a fence the congresswoman installed at her home.
Joseph Morelli was sentenced to three months in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of transmitting interstate threats over voicemail messages he left at Greene’s Washington office in March 2022.
Backed by the Biden administration’s Department of Justice, Greene demanded $66,632 she spent constructing a security fence and reconfiguring her closed-circuit television system at her home in Georgia using campaign funds.
U.S. District Judge Brenda Sannes, an Obama appointee, denied the request in a 14-page ruling, saying federal law would only authorize the restitution if Greene had suffered a “loss of property.”
“Rather, Congresswoman Greene—or, more accurately, her campaign—expended money for personal security enhancements,” Sannes wrote.
She also rejected arguments from the Justice Department that Morelli’s threats directly and proximately caused the harm that led Greene to make the security upgrades.
Sannes noted that Greene’s office received threats from many other individuals — including two others who were criminally charged over their alleged messages — and that she didn’t make the upgrades until months after Morelli’s voicemails in March 2022.
The Justice Department had contended Morelli’s voicemails, however, were “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“Ultimately, there was a delay of between six and seven months between Defendant’s offenses (and his subsequent release on pretrial conditions) and the dates the expenses were incurred: the security-camera reconfiguration was not undertaken until September 2022, and an estimate for construction of the fence was not produced until October 2022,” Sannes ruled.
Court filings show Morelli in the voicemails threatened to physically harm Greene, saying she caused “hatred” and “poison” for people.
“I really think I’m gonna have to cause you harm — physical harm,” he said.
“You’ve got a big f‑‑‑— mouth, and I’m gonna show you what violence is really about,” he continued in a second voicemail. “Keep spreading that hate, bitch. See what the f— happens to you. You are going to get f‑‑‑— physically hurt. Keep talking that shit, bitch.”
The Hill has reached out to Greene’s office for comment.