A Republican congressional candidate plans to ask a judge for a restraining order to stop the removal of a Confederate memorial on the campus of the University of Louisville.
Everett Corley — a real estate agent, GOP candidate and would-be Donald Trump delegate — announced he would file a temporary restraining order Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court to stop Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and U of L President James Ramsey from dismantling the controversial memorial, reported the Courier-Journal.
“It is a political version of book burning,” Corley told the newspaper. “And the fact is, I’m not in favor of book burning.”
Corley also filed a lawsuit, along with the Sons of Confederate Veterans and political activist Ed Springston, accusing the mayor of violating the Kentucky Military Heritage Act and other state laws.
“The mayor has not followed the law,” Corley said. “All we want is a fair hearing, all we want is to let the people know that this is part of our heritage, and you can’t just erase history by tearing down monuments. That’s what the Taliban does, that’s what ISIS does. We don’t do that in America.”
Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman granted the temporary restraining order and set a hearing for Thursday morning to consider Corley’s request for a full temporary injunction.
Fisher and Ramsey announced Friday they would remove the 121-year-old memorial, which sits on city-owned property on the university campus and has attracted student complaints for years.
Corley, who is running in a three-way GOP primary for the chance to challenge Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, said he would file the restraining order on grounds that it caused irreparable harm to himself and the community.
“This will, in our view, detract and damage the entire cultural history of Louisville and its residents,” he said.
Corley filed a criminal complaint and lawsuit against the executive director of the Jefferson County GOP, who he accused of assaulting him in March outside a party meeting.
The candidate told police that Byron Fisher “violently grabbed my right arm and pushed me with the other hand, suddenly and without provocation.”
The 48-year-old Corley, who provided a copy of the complaint to the Courier-Journal, said the incident made him “extremely anxious and (his) blood pressure increased to dangerous levels.”
Party Chairman Jim Stansbury said he witnessed the incident, and he said Corley’s claims were overheated and exaggerated.
Stansbury said Fisher put his hands up to block Corley from entering a private office, and he said the party official may have touched the candidate — who strongly reacted to the contact.
“He started yelling, ‘Don’t you touch me. Don’t touch me. That’s criminal assault,’” Stansbury said. “There was nothing that raised it to that level other than in Everett’s mind.”
It’s not clear that Corley ever served Fisher with the complaint.
The lawsuit accused Fisher and the GOP of breach of contract for collecting $5 in fees to allow him to participate in the delegate process but would not allow him to become a delegate from the district of his choice.
Corley, who backs Donald Trump in the GOP presidential election, changed his voter registration earlier this year from the 28th legislative district to the 43rd legislative district.
His lawsuit asks for compensatory and punitive damages.
Corley, who has previously run for office under the name Corley Everett but has since changed it for family reasons, faces Bob Devore and Harold Bratcher in this month’s primary election.
His Facebook page reveals strong support for Trump and the Confederacy, and he also shares phony memes about a wall between Mexico and Guatemala and complaints about “black thugs” removing white farmers from their land in Rhodesia — the white-rule name for what is now Zimbabwe.
Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who gunned down nine worshipers at a historically black church in South Carolina shared similar interests on his own Facebook page.
Corley was endorsed in a previous race, under his old name, by the white supremacist American Freedom Party — which also endorsed white nationalist Harry Bertram in a West Virginia statehouse race and neo-Nazi Robert Ransdell, who ran for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.
His current campaign promises to represent “the majority who built this country: the American of Valley Forge and Bull Run” — referring, respectively, to the Revolutionary War camp that holds special significance for Christian conservatives and to a Confederate victory in the first major battle of the Civil War.
“Illegal immigration costs thousands of lives through criminal acts, hundreds of thousands of jobs, billions of taxpayer’s dollars, and compromised the future of America,” Corley said. “I have witnessed young Kentucky men lose hope when local jobs disappear and the educational system betrays them in favor of ‘multiculturalism.'”
Watch this discussion between Corley and Bratcher posted online by KET:
Edit: Information on the judge’s ruling added Monday at 12:30 p.m.