A Georgia Tech student filed a civil battery complaint against Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue on Monday following an incident last week in which the senator was caught on video grabbing the student’s phone.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Nathan Alan Knauf, a junior and computer science major at Georgia Tech, seeks a jury trial, damages, attorneys’ fees and costs from Perdue.
Knauf is represented by the Atlanta-based law firm Dreyer Sterling, and his attorneys are the founding partners of the firm: David Dreyer, a Democratic state representative in Georgia, and Michael Sterling, a former Atlanta mayoral candidate and former assistant US attorney in the Northern District of Illinois.
The incident occurred when Perdue was on Georgia Tech’s campus on October 13 campaigning for Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state and Republican nominee for governor.
Kemp is running in a hotly contested race against Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, who’s a former state House minority leader. Kemp, who is also in charge of elections and voter registration in Georgia, faced backlash after The Associated Press reported that his office had put more than 53,000 voter applications on hold, nearly 70% of which are from African-Americans, because they failed to clear the state’s controversial “exact match” standard. Kemp has since said the 53,000 Georgians would be able to vote in November.
Knauf told CNN last week he was attempting to ask Perdue: “How can you endorse a candidate who’s trying to reject people’s voter registrations on the basis of their race?”
The court document reads, “Suddenly and without warning, Senator Perdue committed unlawful battery when he seized Mr. Knauf’s phone, touching Mr. Knauf in the process of seizing the phone, while angrily declaring: ‘No, I’m not doing that — I’m not doing that.’ ”
A spokeswoman for Perdue told CNN in a statement, “This complaint is complete nonsense and lacks any merit whatsoever. All you have to do is look at the political hacks who are trying to spin something out of nothing.”
“This is being orchestrated by a former Obama operative and a current Democrat state representative who spends most of his time campaigning for Stacey Abrams,” the spokeswoman said. “Georgians will see this for what it is – a manufactured setup to embarrass the Senator and attack his credibility two weeks before the midterm elections. Instead, Democrats are embarrassing themselves with a frivolous case that will only waste the court’s time.”
A video of the incident between Perdue and Knauf went viral when it was posted October 13 by the Young Democratic Socialists of America at Georgia Tech, of which Knauf is a member.