A January confrontation between Rep. Marcia Fudge and the friend of a domestic violence victim whose abuser Fudge advocated for was shown in court on Wednesday as the congresswoman sought a restraining order against her accuser.
Mary Ann Lorient approached Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, as she left an upscale banquet hall in Bedford Heights, a suburb of Cleveland.
Lorient accused her of having “blood on her hands” for the death of sixth-grade teacher Aisha M. Fraser, who was fatally stabbed in November, Cleveland.com reported. Her estranged husband Lance Mason has been charged with aggravated murder, among other charges.
Mason had been accused of brutal violence against his wife before.
In 2014, Mason pleaded guilty to choking and punching Fraser in front of their two children, Fox 8 reported. Police charged Mason, then a judge and a former state representative, with attempted felonious assault.
Fudge wrote a letter to the court in 2015 requesting leniency in the case, praising Mason as a close friend and “a good man who made a very bad mistake.”
Fudge has since renounced those words. In a statement after Fraser’s death, Fudge said “the person who committed these crimes is not the Lance Mason familiar to me.”
Lorient recorded the January confrontation on her cellphone. Though the video is pointed away from Fudge’s face, Lorient can be heard chastising the congresswoman.
“We’re going to unseat you. You’re evil,” she said to Fudge. “As a black woman, to write that letter? At what point did you have empathy for her? At what point did you think about her? At what point?”
Fudge says softly, “Don’t say anything.”
The video shakes and the phone clatters to the ground as Lorient says, “Don’t hit me.”
The existence of the video was reported by Cleveland.com following the hearing in which Fudge successfully sought a protection order against Lorient, whom she accuses of having followed her at several events. Lorient denies that accusation, and said she has only met the congresswoman once — at the January banquet.
Lorient played the video for the judge, while Fudge said she was not aware that it existed, the site reported.
The judge in the case has been endorsed by Fudge several times; Lorient’s request that the judge recuse herself from the case was rejected.
Fudge mulled challenging Nancy Pelosi for the role of House speaker last year, but decided against a bid and backed Pelosi after receiving assurances that Democratic leadership would prioritize diversity. Pelosi also promised to strengthen voting rights by reinstituting a House Administration subcommittee on elections that Republicans eliminated in 2013.
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