GRA has it’s day in court…and it wasn’t good

Lookout Mountain Circuit Superior Court Judge Don Thompson didn’t mince words today after a 1:00 pm hearing in the case of the five Republican candidates who have petitioned the court to order the the Catoosa County Republican Party to qualify them as Republican candidates for the 2024 elections.

According to eyewitnesses who attended the hearing, Catoosa County GOP attorney Alex Johnson sat silent for the hearing preferring to let his law partner, Catherine Bernard, do all of the talking limiting his role to simply passing her notes.

Other GRA luminaries like Nathaniel Darnell, JD, were also in attendance. According to witnesses, at one point, Darnell had his cell phone out in court possibly taking photos or video. Only attorneys are allowed to possess phones in the court so one has to wonder how Darnell kept his. Judge Thompson noticed and stopped the hearing to speak with Sheriff Sisk and then directed him to escort the individual with the phone to his chambers as soon as he gaveled out of the hearing. Afterwards, deputies flanked Darnell on each side to take him to his unplanned meeting.

Judge Thompson came to the hearing prepared announcing that he had read all of the briefs and checked all of the citations of authority prior to the hearing.

Chairwoman Joanna Hildreth took the stand and was asked by the attorney for one of the petitioners, Lawrence Stagg if she would comply with the Judge’s order. According to our sources, she took a long pause and simply said she planned to appeal. When Stagg asked again for a direct answer, Catherine Bernard tried to object and Judge Thompson ordered that Hildreth answer the question, to which, after another long pause, she replied, “No. I’ll appeal it.”

To conclude the hearing, Judge Thompson once again reiterated his orders that the Catoosa County Republican Party was to qualify the candidates and he was charging the Catoosa County Republican Party $1,000 per hour per each of the four petitions for every hour the GOP did not qualify them, and ordered the parties back in court at 8:30 am tomorrow morning, March 8, to see if his orders were complied with. If the petitions still had not been qualified by the Catoosa County Republican Party, he may order the County Elections Superintendent to qualify the candidates as Republicans and discuss 20 days in jail for contempt of court with the Hildreth and the other officers of the Catoosa GOP.

Please check back as we receive new information and receive more verification.

We will continue to add new court filings here on PeachPundit.

UPDATE: As of 4:01PM on 3/7/2024, the Catoosa County Republican Party is still defying the orders to qualify the candidates.

2 Replies to “GRA has it’s day in court…and it wasn’t good”

  1. The Judge (or, rather, the judge’s law clerk) made a bit of an error: On the 1st page of today’s order Jason linked above, he starts off in the 2nd sentence of the 2nd paragraph as: “Respondents are four candidates who the evidence shows have met all the requirements of O.C.G.A. (squiggly line) 21-2-153.”

    Rather than “Respondents” that word there should have been “Petitioners”

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