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Judge running for high court disavows QAnon conspiracy

April 30, 2021 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Philadelphia judge running for a seat on Pennsylvania’s highest court is disavowing any connection to QAnon, even though she did an interview with supporters of the conspiracy theory who also listed her as a featured speaker at an upcoming gathering.

Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick told The Philadelphia Inquirer that she had no connection to QAnon, the baseless belief that former President Donald Trump waged a secret battle against a cabal of satanic child-molesting cannibals.

“Look, I’m a judge,” she said in an interview with The Inquirer’s editorial board on Thursday. “There’s no way I would link myself to anything that would be questionable like that.”

Patrick, 53, is running in the three-way Republican Party primary contest on May 18.

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She has served on Philadelphia’s bench for 17 years, including stints in every major trial division on the court, and received the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s highest possible rating. She also has run statewide before, twice unsuccessfully, for seats on lower state appellate courts.

The other candidates on the GOP ballot are Kevin Brobson and Patricia McCullough, both Commonwealth Court judges.

Many of those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 were wearing clothes or holding signs adorned with symbols of the QAnon conspiracy theory. An FBI bulletin in 2020 warned that conspiracy theory-driven extremists have become a domestic terrorism threat.

Patrick said she wasn’t invited to the “Patriots Arise, Awakening the Dead!” event in Gettysburg in June, which says it will feature speeches about how to fight the socialist left. Patrick did not plan to attend and had never heard of it before, she said. By Friday, her name had been removed from the site.

However, in recent weeks, Patrick sat for an interview on a YouTube and podcast show hosted by the two conservative social media personalities and self-described prophets who are organizing the event.

The website for their group is full of references to QAnon. But Patrick said she hadn’t researched the podcast and wasn’t aware of their views on QAnon. Rather, she said she thought the show was targeted to a Christian audience.

“I just did an interview with reference to my candidacy, and that was it. I didn’t know anything else about any conspiracy theories,” Patrick told the Inquirer.