Donald Trump’s lawyer says burning speech before the Capitol riot was part of the president’s official duties

Donald Trump’s lawyer says the former US president can not be sued because of his ardent speech before the Capitol riot because he acted within the framework of his official presidential duties.

Trump’s lawyer, Jesse Binnall, told a court hearing Monday that Trump was “immune” or protected from three lawsuits by Democratic members of Congress and two police officers.

“Executive immunity must be broad,” Mr Binnall said.

The lawsuits, filed by plaintiffs, including Democratic U.S. Representatives Eric Swalwell and Jerry Nadler, claim that Trump is responsible for damages to police and politicians.

Threateningly large in the case is a 1982 Supreme Court case that states that presidents are immune to lawsuits over their official actions.

During the five-hour hearing, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta of the District of Columbia pressured lawyers on both sides about the limits of this presidential immunity.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Joseph Sellers opposed that Mr. Trump’s speech was a campaign event, not an official act, and it was “unthinkable” that the Supreme Court intended to protect presidents from lawsuits over this kind of behavior.

“There is no legitimate role to play in provoking an uprising against Congress,” Mr Sellers said.

Democratic lawmakers have invoked a 1871 law banning political intimidation and were passed to fight the white supremacy of the Ku Klux Klan group.

The lawsuits claim 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 overthrow Joe Biden’s election.

Judge Mehta did not issue a ruling on Monday, saying during the hearing that the trial raised difficult legal issues.

“If there is one thing this hearing has shown, it is that it is not an easy matter,” he said.

Trump supporters pull a police barrier from all sides as they try to break through a police line.
Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on January 6th.(AP: John Minchillo)

At one point, the judge questioned whether Trump’s remarks in the wake of the Capitol siege were intended to encourage troublemakers.

“What do I do about the fact that the president did not condemn the behavior immediately?” Judge Mehta said to Mr Binnall.

“Is it not, from a plausibility point of view, enough to at least plausibly deduce that the president agreed with the behavior of the people who were inside the Capitol that day?”

Sir. Binnall replied, “The president can not be the subject of a lawsuit for any kind of compensation for failing to do something.”

Trump was sued by the House of Representatives and acquitted by the Senate on a charge of inciting the riots, which is also under investigation by a parliamentary committee.

Swalwell’s trial includes similar allegations against Trump allies who also spoke at the January 6 meeting, including campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. and Republican Congressman Mo Brooks.

Brooks, who represented himself at the hearing, asked Judge Mehta to dismiss Mr Swalwell’s claim against him.

Mr Brooks claimed that his remarks at the sitting on 6 January were part of his duties as a Member of Parliament.

A law called the Westfall Act protects federal employees from being sued for acts performed as part of their job.

Trump and his co-defendants have argued that their remarks prior to the January 6 attack were politically motivated by the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.



Give a Comment