Numerous lawsuits targeting erstwhile President Trump for the Jan. 6 Capitol incident can proceed, a judge decided Friday.
United States District Judge Amit Mehta denied Trump’s request to toss three lawsuits founded on presidential protection and free speech grounds, allowing the cases to proceed to trial.
“Denying a president immunity from civil liability is a significant step. The court is fully aware of the weight of its ruling. However, the court finds the stated facts, in this case, are unique; its conclusion is consistent with the aims of such immunity,” Mehta said in the judgment.
“The president’s activities here have nothing to do with his constitutional obligations to faithfully execute the law, conduct international affairs, command the armed forces, or manage the Executive Branch.”
Federal District Judge Amit Mehta has convincingly rejected Trump’s motions to dismiss the civil suits by Members of Congress to hold him accountable for harming them by inciting the Jan 6 insurrection and failing to call it off when asked to do so:https://t.co/SHE9x3xmKJ
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) February 18, 2022
Rep. Eric Swalwell, the Jan. 6 Chair of the committee, Bennie Thompson, and Capitol Police officers filed the three complaints against Trump.
The plaintiffs said Trump and others harassed them during his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. Additionally, they charged Trump and the other defendants with orchestrating the violence on Jan. 6, 2021.
The complaints also implicated Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Mo Brooks, the Oath Keepers, and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio.
Mehta denied Trump Jr. and Giuliani’s lawsuits. He also hinted he would drop the claims filed against Brooks, stating all three of them participated in First Amendment-protected speech.
He stated Trump’s, Tarrio’s, and the Oath Keepers’ conduct may be taken as an invitation to violence.
President Trump’s January 6 rally speech was analogous to informing an ecstatic audience that corn-dealers deprive the poor in front of the corn-home.
“He invited his loyalists to Washington, D.C., after months of blaming crooked and weak politicians for stealing their election,” as Mehta stated. “It is not justified to dismiss the plaintiff’s allegations on First Amendment grounds.”
The complaints against Trump and his associates were filed last year, accusing them of instigating the Jan. 6 disturbance and seeking monetary damages.
All three charges were filed, following the former president’s acquittal by the Senate of an impeachment accusation of inciting unrest in connection with the siege of Congress.
Speeches and Assembly
Brooks made a speech at the same Jan. 6 rally as Trump. Trump and his defenders have characterized the impeachment process as a “witch hunt” and insisted he was not directly responsible for inciting the violence.
Thompson’s lawsuit did not specify the particular damages he sought. CNN reported Swalwell, an impeachment manager, is seeking a court order requiring Trump and his suit partners to notify authorities in advance of meetings of more than 50 people in Washington, D.C.
#BREAKING: Today, a court ruled in our favor that Donald Trump must appear before my office as part of our investigation into his financial dealings.
No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) February 17, 2022
The notion is by issuing a warning, he or others will have the chance to challenge such an assembly in court. According to the outlet, two Capitol police officers are demanding a minimum of $75,000 in compensation in their complaint.
As a consequence of Mehta’s ruling in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the lawsuits will proceed to the evidence-gathering stage, which may include sworn testimony of Trump, the Oath Keepers, and Tarrio.
New York Attorney General Letitia James will be able to question Trump and two of his children as part of a civil investigation into the Trump Organization. Trump’s lawyers asked a Manhattan judge to stop her from doing this.