“She’s facing up to eight years in prison,” Cannon’s attorney, Gerald Griggs, told CNN’s Don Lemon on “CNN Tonight.”
“We’re planning on having conversations with the district attorney, hopefully to convince her to dismiss the charges. But if not, we are going to take this case all the way to jury trial and convince the jury that she did not violate any code section of the Georgia code and that she should not have been arrested.”
Referencing circulated video footage of the incident, Griggs added, “We are continuing to get the rest of the videos and we’re going to fight this case all the way to jury trial.”
Cannon was arrested and removed from the Georgia Capitol on Thursday after passage of the state’s sweeping elections bill restricting voting access, which passed both chambers of the legislature in the span of a few hours before Kemp signed it Thursday evening.
The law imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water. Critics say it could unfairly target voters of color in light of former President Donald Trump’s peddled falsehoods of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
In a video posted to social media, a Georgia State Patrol officer speaks with Cannon outside the door to Kemp’s office, and she is seen being led away by several officers with her hands cuffed behind her back. She was taken to Fulton County Jail, visited by Georgia US Sen. Raphael Warnock — who identified her as a parishioner at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where he has served as senior pastor — and released late Thursday night.
In a statement Thursday night, Georgia State Patrol said that at 6:33 p.m. Thursday, Cannon “was beating on the door to the Governor’s Office” and, when told to stop, moved on to the Governor’s Ceremonial Office door marked with a “Governor’s Staff Only” sign and knocked on that door.
After being told twice to stop knocking on the door in light of the news conference occurring inside and twice warned that she would be arrested if she did not stop, “Rep. Cannon refused to stop knocking on the door. Rep. Cannon was placed under arrest and escorted out of the Capitol,” according to the statement.
Cannon faces two felony charges — felony obstruction and preventing or disrupting General Assembly session, according to an arrest affidavit seen by CNN. The affidavit states that Cannon was charged with disrupting General Assembly session because she “knowingly and intentionally did by knocking the governor’s door during session of singing [sic] a bill.”
When asked what Cannon’s goal was in knocking on the door, Griggs on Friday asserted that she had been prevented from attending the signing ceremony. In a photo of Kemp signing the sweeping law, he is flanked by six men in suits and sitting before a portrait of what seems to be a painting of an antebellum, plantation-style home.
“Her goal was to get transparency and to see the process and to make sure that voters as well as elected officials got to see the governor sign the bill,” Griggs said. “So she wanted to be present, as other members of the state House were present at that signing, and she was prevented, and so she knocked on the door.”
The Biden administration defended Cannon on Friday, with press secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters at a briefing that the White House is “deeply concerned by the actions that were taken by law enforcement” to arrest the lawmaker.
“I think anyone who saw that video would have been deeply concerned,” Psaki said, in response to a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. “She simply — by the video that was provided — seemed to be knocking on the door to, to see if she could watch a bill being signed into law.”
“The largest concern here, obviously beyond her being treated in the manner she was … is the law that was put into place,” Psaki added.
Asked if the President would be calling Cannon, Psaki said she didn’t have “any calls to preview.”