CLEVELAND — U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge (D) Ohio, appeared in a Cuyahoga County courtroom on Wednesday, asking a judge to grant an order, protecting her from a community activist.
Congresswoman Fudge told the court she was leaving a public event in January, when she was confronted by 45-year-old Mary Ann Lorient about her previous support for accused killer Lance Mason.
Mason, a disgraced former judge and Cleveland city administrator, is under arrest for the murder of his former wife, Aisha Fraser, following a history of abuse.
Lorient recorded the confrontation with Fudge on her cell phone and presented it to Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold. Lorient is heard telling Marcia Fudge, “You have blood on your hands; you understand me? You are a murderer.”
The security detail for Congresswoman Fudge maintained that Mary Ann Lorient has shown up at a number of her public events, but Lorient maintained the event in January was the first and only time she met Fudge.
Lorient claims Rep. Fudge knocked her cell phone out of her hand, and the community activist shouted in the courtroom, “You hit me. That’s a fact, Congresswoman; that’s a fact.”
Fudge denied the claim, telling the judge, “She is just fabricating this entire story… if I had hit her, she would have been hurt.”
Mary Ann Lorient said she believes Rep. Fudge helped Lance Mason get out of prison early after he was convicted of brutally assaulting his then wife in 2014, and then helped him secure a job with the city of Cleveland.
She contends a letter of support written by Fudge was an abuse of power and set the stage for the murder of Aisha Fraser. “Other people wrote letters but she took it a step further. She instructed him to write an apology letter; she instructed him and referred to her as a drama queen wife. Who does that?” said Lorient.
During the court hearing, Marcia Fudge responded to Lorient’s claim that she had “blood on her hands.” “I wrote one letter; an additional 35 people wrote letters on his behalf. Certainly if I could foresee what he was going to do, I may not have, but Lance Mason was my friend. I wrote the letter.”
After listening to both sides, Judge Strickland Saffold granted Marcia Fudge’s request for the protection order.
The judge told Mary Ann Lorient, “Just being a public official doesn’t give anybody the right to come and approach us in our face, to enter in some type of altercation with us, to follow us out, to call us murderers.”
Strickland Saffold also told Lorient she is free to criticize Congresswoman Fudge in any way she chooses, but under the protection order, she is not permitted to come within 500 feet of Fudge.