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Bogus Liens, Real Consequences: How sovereign citizens clog courts

Erica Elliott used a lien to slow the sale of the Villa Collina. After the prosecution, she is now suing law enforcement officials and the judge on her case.

CLINTON, Tenn. — After placing a lien on the Villa Collina, considered one of the largest houses in Tennessee, prosecutors charged Erica Elliott for having "no reasonable basis or legal cause to place such lien."

Now, Elliott is suing Judge Kyle Hixson, District Attorney General Charme Allen, her lawyer and other law enforcement officers on her case.

In a complaint filed to federal court, Elliott cites her "official capacity as a Private Attorney General and as a Constitutional Bounty Hunter," to request $6 million in damages per day she is incarcerated.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said sovereign citizens believe they get to choose which laws they do and do not follow.

"They clog the court with indecipherable filings," SPLC said.

District Attorney General Dave Clark prosecuted many sovereign citizens in Anderson County.

"I think their goal is to intimidate, harass, retaliate and delay," General Clark said. "Tennessee judges and prosecutors and police officers are not going to be intimidated by paper terrorism."

General Clark said the sovereign citizens he prosecuted took out liens on his house and his assistant's house.

"If a lien is filed against a young police officer, a young prosecutor and they're moving from a starter home to a second home ... These kinds of liens can be very disruptive in their life," General Clark said. "It can delay their ability to move, make purchases that we would all hope to make as life progresses."

After the slew of bogus liens filed against public officials, lawmakers changed state law to protect public servants.

"When liens are filed against public officials, it's easier to get those liens removed," General Clark said.

That law does not apply to private citizens. That's why the Villa Collina sale has not gone through.

Elliott is facing up to 60 years in prison for each charge.

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