Politics

Judge approves lawsuits against former President Donald Trump for January 6 capital riot

U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta ruled on Friday on several lawsuits that have been brought forth by Democratic lawmakers as well as Capitol Police officers against former President Donald Trump, Oath Keepers, and Proud Boy leader Enrico Tarrio.

Those cases were also combined into a single case against the former president, who has been resisting the allegations.

Mehta, who did also dismiss cases against attorney Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr., ruled against Trump’s claim that he has “absolute immunity” from all legal liability for purportedly causing the riot at the Capitol on January 6 to take place because his public statements made in contest with the results of the election did fall underneath his presidential responsibilities.

Mehta further found that Trump’s legal argument was “misleading and wrong as a matter of law.” 

The judge ruled that sufficient evidence was presented that Trump’s speech given at a rally just prior to the attack could stand as a “plausible conspiracy,” and the same applied to the Oath Keepers and Tarrio’s actions, which meant the cases would be able to move forward in the legal process.

Trump had made his speech with the goal of blocking Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote, and according to Mehta, he should have understood it would be regarded “as a call to action” by his supporters. 

Mehta was not persuaded by Trump’s claim that his speech was protected language under the First Amendment, as he found “it’s plausible” the speech was unlawful “words of incitement.”

But still, the judge ruled that both Giuliani’s and Trump Jr.’s speeches were protected as they “uttered no words that resembled a call to action,” even though they were given at the same rally. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: POST-GAZETTE.COM

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