Attorney for Georgia lawmaker calls charges 'overreach'

President Joe Biden talks to members of the media before walking to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, March 26, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden talks to members of the media before walking to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, March 26, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ATLANTA – An attorney for a Georgia lawmaker who was charged with two felonies after knocking on the door to the governor’s private office said authorities overreached in the case, which unfolded while the governor spoke on live television about a sweeping overhaul of state elections.

State police arrested state Rep. Park Cannon, an Atlanta Democrat, on Thursday after she said she wanted to see Republican Gov. Brian Kemp sign the law that places new restrictions on voting by mail and gives lawmakers more power to oversee elections.

Cannon was charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disruption of the General Assembly. She was released from jail late Thursday.

A state police spokesman said Cannon knocked on the door to the public lobby of the governor’s office, and then shifted to knocking on a door to a private area.

“She was advised that she was disturbing what was going on inside and if she did not stop, she would be placed under arrest,” Lt. W. Mark Riley wrote in a statement.

Kemp signed the bill before he began speaking. He interrupted his televised remarks while Cannon was knocking and later resumed the speech.

“This was a law enforcement overreach on all the charges, and my hope is that after examining the file, the district attorney will dismiss the charges,” Cannon’s lawyer, Gerald Griggs, said Friday. Griggs said he had already spoken to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

The new law requires a photo identification to vote absentee by mail. It also shortens how long voters have to request an absentee ballot and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be used. Republicans said Georgia needed to restore the confidence of voters who believed President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud. They also noted that the law increases the number of in-person early voting days on weekends.