Judge denies Rep. Greene’s restitution request for $65,000 home security fence

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A federal judge rejected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s request to have an upstate New York man convicted of sending her threatening voicemails pay $65,000 for her Georgia home’s security fence.

Joseph Morelli pleaded guilty in February to threatening the Republican member of Congress in several calls in 2022 to her Washington, D.C., office. He was sentenced to three months in prison in August. The Endicott, New York, resident said “I’m gonna harm you” in one voicemail and threatened to “pay someone 500 bucks to take a baseball bat and crack your skull,” in another, prosecutors said.

Greene sought restitution of $65,257 for the construction of the fence and $1,375 for reconfiguring existing security cameras at her Georgia home. Lawyers for the government argued that Greene’s security expenses stemmed from the threats, according to court papers.

U.S. District Judge Brenda Kay Sannes denied the request in a ruling Tuesday. The judge wrote that federal law authorizes restitution when there is a property loss, but “Greene — or, more accurately, her campaign — expended money for personal security enhancements.”

Sannes also noted that attorneys arguing for the restitution did not establish that the security upgrades were directly linked to Morelli’s threats, as opposed to other threats.

An email seeking comment was sent to Greene’s congressional office.

Separately, a Georgia man accused of threatening Greene was arrested last week on federal charges. Authorities say 34-year-old Sean Cirillo, who lives in the Atlanta area, called Greene’s Washington office twice on Nov. 8 and threatened to harm Greene, her staff and their families.

Cirillo is charged with transmitting interstate threats to injure Greene.

At an initial hearing Monday, a judge ordered Cirillo to remain in custody pending a detention hearing set for Thursday, according to online court records. A defense attorney for Cirillo listed in court records did not immediately return an email Wednesday seeking comment on the charges.

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