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Georgia State Sen. Elena Parent on Donald Trump's New Indictments

Georgia State Sen. Elena Parent on Donald Trump's New Indictments

<p>Georgia State Sen. Elena Parent on Donald Trump's New Indictments</p>
Facebook/State Senator Elena Parent

She famously called B.S. during a December 2020 hearing with Trump attorneys and also appeared before a special purpose hearing related to the grand jury investigation.

Georgia state Sen. Elena Parent, a Democrat, was in the room when Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, and former President Donald Trump’s legal team came before a Georgia Senate hearing in December 2020 to share their allegations of fraud with Georgia’s state elections regulators.

That “hearing” lasted almost seven hours and was chaired by former Republican state Sen. William Ligon. Essentially, Trump’s legal team said that Georgia’s election results needed to be thrown out.

It was a hearing of wild tales of conspiracy, with Trump’s team offering statements of support from who they said were “experts” on voter fraud. Among the accusations were that Georgia's voting machines were useless, that scores of absentee ballots were dubiously cast and counted, and that the Republican-controlled legislature needed to appoint its own slate of electors for Trump.

And this is the hearing where Giuliani said vote counters Roby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss were passing clandestine USB cords to each other like “vials of cocaine or heroin.” Moss explained during the January 6 committee hearings that it was ginger mints and not USB cords.

During Eastman’s far-fetched testimony, full of utter fantasies about the election, Parent dared to call him out. “So, correct me if I’m wrong here. Your argument is that essentially, we have a failed election that would require the legislature to step in and assign electors. Am I correct?”

That day, after the hearings, she tweeted, "I publicly questioned the validity of [Donald Trump's] fraud allegations. Since then, I've received a torrent of abuse, attacks & death threats. It's time to ask ourselves, 'Is this who we are? Is this who we want to be?'"

One far-right internet site posted photos of Parent and misidentified her as an election worker. It asked users to vote on what form of punishment she should receive. The most common responses called for sexual violence to be committed against Parent and/or her execution.

“It’s really scary and very strange because I didn’t do anything that I wouldn’t have done or haven’t done in any other hearing for these years I’ve been a senator,” she said at the time.

After her comments at the hearing, she received additional police protection at her home.

Parent represents District 42 in Georgia, which includes suburban Atlanta portions of central and northern DeKalb County. She is the secretary for the Senate Government Oversight and Special Judiciary Committees and a member of the Education and Youth and Judiciary Committees.

Parent, who spoke to The Advocate early Tuesday morning after the indictment was released overnight, said that when Giuliani walked into that room for the hearing in December 2020, it was a complete surprise. “I did not have a forewarning,” she said during a phone interview. “When it was called, I assumed and feared that it was going to be an exercise of airing election conspiracy theories. Yes, I thought it was not legitimate, and I also didn’t realize just how grand these theories were and how it reflected just a desperate attempt to restore Trump to the White House.”

There was a famous photo of Giuliani speaking with Parent during a break in the hearing. What did he say to Parent? “He was trying to compliment me and my colleagues on how we were comporting ourselves well during the hearing. It was small talk, but also laughable that he would comment on our demeanor, considering the testimony he was offering.”

After the hearing, because she had the audacity to speak out against the far-flung allegations, Parent received death threats. “It was just a surreal level of scrutiny and hatred that entered my life and my family’s life just because I was doing my job. This just didn’t affect me but my husband and kids, and that was a scary feeling of guilt. You feel so awful for making your family worry about the potential of being in harm’s way,” she said.

Before the grand jury investigation took place, a special grand jury was convened. That investigation wrapped in December of last year and laid the groundwork for the subsequent Fulton County grand jury hearings. The special grand jury does not have the power to indict anyone, but simply to make recommendations to the district attorney.

“The special purpose grand jury can’t issue indictments, so it cleared the way for District Attorney Willis to take testimony from individuals and consider broader swaths of evidence,” Parent explained. “I testified in front of the special grand jury and mainly about the hearing that was held with Giuliani and Trump’s attorneys.”

Parent said that while the indictment is solid and full of intricate details about how Trump and his 18 associates tried to corrupt the Georgia election systems and processes, it was unlikely to change any minds.

“Georgia will continue to be a key battleground state in the election next year. I regret to say that I don’t think any minds will be changed. Jack Smith, the special counsel, has included in his January 6 indictment back patterns of how Trump and his co-conspirators tried to interfere with state elections," Parent said. "Maybe if some earth-shattering evidence is aired, some minds will be changed, but people are locked into their own narratives about what this all means.”

Parent talked about how Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer in the office of the Georgia secretary of state, went before the TV cameras with a warning in December 2020 that someone was going to get hurt, shot, or killed.

“His words rang true, since a number of people were hurt and killed on January 6," Parent said. "It’s disturbing how there are many Americans living in an alternate universe as a result of years and years of right-wing media attacks on our government and its institutions. It’s very concerning to think about where we go from here.”

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