WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has rejected efforts by former President Donald Trump to toss out lawsuits filed by lawmakers and two Capitol Police officers that claim his actions led to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta says in his ruling that Trump’s words during a rally before the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol were “plausibly words of incitement not protected by the First Amendment.”
Trump had told his supporters to “fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He also claimed that he was going to march to the Capitol with his supporters. Instead, Trump returned to the White House.
According to CNBC, the judge granted requests by Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr. to dismiss them as defendants in the lawsuits. He reportedly said he would dismiss Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama from the lawsuit once the request is made.
Trump's lawyers claimed the former president was immune from being sued because he was acting within his official presidential responsibilities.
“To deny a President immunity from civil damages is no small step,” Mehta wrote in the ruling. “The court well understands the gravity of its decision. But the alleged facts of this case are without precedent, and the court believes that its decision is consistent with the purposes behind such immunity.”