On Friday, former U.S. President Donald Trump was unsuccessful in his attempt to have cases against him dismissed on the grounds that he incited the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Judge Amit Mehta of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in a lengthy written decision that three cases filed by Democratic members of Congress and two police officers would be allowed to proceed to trial.
Mehta decided to dismiss Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani as well as Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. from the cases, which had previously named them as co-defendants.
— New York Post (@nypost) February 18, 2022
The Supreme Court decision from 1982, which held that presidents are insulated, or immune, from lawsuits arising from their official activities, is looming large in the litigation.
President Donald Trump was not exempt from the claims, according to Mehta, who determined that the then-enraged president’s statement prior to the Capitol attack did not fall outside the purview of his official presidential duties.
“It is a significant step to strip a President of his protection from civil liability. The court is fully cognizant of the significance of its ruling “Mehta had the upper hand. Nevertheless, the alleged facts of this case are unprecedented, and the court feels that its decision is consistent with the purposes of immunity granted in this situation.”
Trump and his co-defendants have maintained that their comments prior to the attack on Jan. 6 were protected free speech under the United States Constitution.
BREAKING: A federal judge has rejected Donald TRUMP's effort to dismiss lawsuits against him by multiple members of Congress and the Capitol seeking to hold him responsible for the events of Jan. 6.https://t.co/RF8RcXeYsj
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) February 18, 2022
Political intimidation is prohibited by an 1871 legislation created to combat the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan, which has been invoked by Democratic lawmakers, including U.S. Representatives Eric Swalwell and Jerry Nadler, who are both from California.
Court documents claimed that Trump and rioters conspired to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.
Without commenting on the merits of that idea, Mehta stated that the claim was sufficiently specific to allow the case to move to discovery, which is a procedure in which litigants exchange evidence and call witnesses.
It is at least reasonable to infer from these stated facts that, when the President called on rally-goers to march to the Capitol, he did so in order to obstruct lawmakers’ efforts to certify the Electoral College votes, said Mehta in his article.
In a statement released by Joseph Sellers, an attorney for Democratic lawmakers, said the verdict “clearly establishes a new legal precedent” and “demonstrates the unusual nature of the behavior in which then-President Trump was involved.”
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