Atlanta company files defamation suit against candidate Greene

An Atlanta-based mortgage provider has filed a lawsuit against congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, saying she defamed the company by spreading misinformation about the firing of an employee.

The lawsuit filed in Fulton County also names Melissa Rolfe, an ex-employee of Equity Prime Mortgage, as a defendant. Her stepson, Garrett Rolfe, was charged in the officer-involved shooting of Rayshard Brooks in June. Both Greene and Melissa Rolfe have claimed that she was fired from Equity after her stepson was charged, but Equity’s attorneys said that was not the case.

The home lender last week asked Greene to retract and apologize for comments on social media that called Rolfe’s termination politically motivated. When that didn’t happen, the company moved forward with its defamation suit.

“We were targeted with death threats, hate mail, and a boycott because of a national media firestorm based on statements by Marjorie Greene’s campaign and Melissa Rolfe,” Equity President and CEO Eddy Perez said in a statement. “We are committed to setting the record straight and defending our good name.”

Lin Wood, an attorney who represents Greene’s campaign and Rolfe, said they have not done anything wrong and were only exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech. He said the recent actions taken by Equity, including the lawsuit, are part of a smear attack intended to influence the election and he is considering filing a lawsuit of his own.

Wood also said he plans to file a motion soon to dismiss Equity’s defamation case on the grounds it is a frivolous attempt to silence protected speech.

“It is errant nonsense and an abuse of the legal system,” Wood said of the case.

Greene won the Republican nomination in Georgia’s strongly conservative 14th Congressional District on Tuesday and is expected to easily win November’s general election.

Even before she began campaigning with Rolfe, she was a controversial figure. Greene has repeated baseless QAnon conspiracy theories and has made anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and racist comments on videos posted to social media.

After Garrett Rolfe was charged with felony murder in the Brooks case, Greene posted on social media that Melissa Rolfe had been fired from Equity as a result.

“First her stepson (who was acting in self-defense) lost his job & was charged with murder!” she wrote on Twitter on June 30. “Then Melissa’s employer caved to the mob and wrongfully fired her!”

The company said Rolfe was under investigation well before the Brooks shooting and was ultimately terminated for making sexist and racist comments that resulted in numerous employee complaints.

In the suit, the company accuses Greene and Rolfe of conspiring to publish false and defamatory statements that resulted in boycotts and a flurry of “furious messages from people who believed the lie.”

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