Donald Trump’s lawyer argued in court on Monday that former president Trump cannot be sued over his fiery speech before the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol because he was acting within the scope of his official presidential duties.
Trump’s lawyer, Jesse Binnall, said during a court hearing that Trump was “immune,” or shielded, from three lawsuits by Democratic members of Congress and two police officers.
“Executive immunity must be broad,” Binnall said.
The lawsuits, filed by plaintiffs including Democratic U.S. representatives Eric Swalwell and Jerry Nadler, argue that Trump is liable for injuries to police and lawmakers.
Looming large in the case is a Supreme Court case from 1982 holding that presidents are immune from lawsuits over their official acts.
During a five-hour court hearing, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in the District of Columbia pressed lawyers for both sides about the limits of this presidential immunity.
Plaintiffs lawyer Joseph Sellers countered that Trump’s speech was a campaign event, not an official act and said it was “inconceivable” that the Supreme Court intended to shield presidents from lawsuits over this sort of conduct.
“There is no legitimate role for fomenting an insurrection aimed at Congress,” Sellers said.
The Democratic lawmakers have invoked an 1871 law passed to fight the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan that prohibits political intimidation.
The lawsuits charge that the Capitol attack was a direct consequence of Trump’s actions, including the speech to thousands of supporters who then stormed the building to try to overturn President Joe Biden’s election.
Mehta did not issue a ruling on Monday, saying during the hearing that the litigation raises difficult legal questions.
Trump challenges riot lawsuits, says fiery speech was official act ReutersTrump challenges riot lawsuits, says fiery speech was official act ReutersRead More“when:24h allinurl:reuters.com” – Google News