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Judge rules Trump faces civil lawsuit on Jan. 6, slams words like ‘encouraging’ violence

A federal judge issued an extremely critical ruling against former President Donald Trump on Friday, refusing to dismiss civil lawsuits charging him with guilt for the assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and pointing to one of his tweets as an “encouragement” of violence.

US District Judge Amit Mehta also called it ‘plausible’ that Trump reached a ‘tacit’ agreement with the violent Oath Keepers and Proud Boys over attempts that day to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election. A “civil conspiracy” is an agreement to “participate in an unlawful act” that may be real or implied, the judge noted.

Mehta rejected Trump’s claim that his actions that day are immune from legal process because they were part of his official duties. The judge noted that attempts to overturn an election are not part of a president’s official duties.

Mehta’s decision related to several civil lawsuits that were filed against Trump by offers from the police who were at the U.S. Capitol during the attack and by Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss .), the chairman of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. They all cite the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which prohibits Americans from being denied their civil rights, including by government officials.

“To deny a president immunity from civil harm is no small feat,” Mehta acknowledged in his decision. “The court understands the seriousness of its decision. But the alleged facts of this case are unprecedented.

Trump’s “actions here are unrelated to his duties to faithfully execute the laws, conduct foreign affairs, command the armed forces, or manage the executive branch,” Mehta wrote. “They are entirely about his efforts to stay in office for a second term. These are unofficial acts, so the separation of powers concerns that justify the president’s broad immunity are not present here.

Mehta also pointed to a connection between Trump and the violence that day.

“It is at least plausible to infer that when he called on protesters to march to the Capitol, the president did so in an effort to disrupt lawmakers’ efforts to certify Electoral College votes,” Mehta explained. . “The Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and others who forced their way into the Capitol building clearly shared this unlawful purpose.”

Some 12 minutes after rioters entered the Capitol, Trump “sent out a tweet criticizing the vice president for not having[ing] the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country. Rioters repeated this criticism on Capitol Hill, with some seeing it as encouragement to continue the violence,” Mehta noted in his decision.

Mehta also criticized Trump’s speech at a rally shortly before the Capitol storming, in which he urged his supporters to “fight like hell.”

His speech was “akin to telling an excited crowd that the corn dealers are starving the poor outside the corn dealer’s house,” Mehta wrote. Trump raged for weeks against “corrupt and spineless politicians” and then ordered his supporters to “march the Capitol”, where his targeted politicians were gathered, the judge added.

After the Capitol was cleaned up, Trump tweeted, “These are the things that happen when a landslide sacred election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped of great patriots…Remember this day forever!” Mehta said, “A reasonable observer might read this tweet as ratifying the violence and other unlawful acts that have taken place.”

In a separate ruling later Friday, Mehta ordered Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to remain in jail pending trial for conspiring with members of his far-right militia to attack the US Capitol in an attempt to to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden. electoral votes.

Rhodes remains a “clear and compelling danger” to the public, Mehta said.

Mehta’s decision against Trump was the latest in what turned out to be another bad week for the former president. A judge on Thursday ordered Trump — along with his daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr. — to comply with subpoenas and testify under oath in a civil investigation launched by the state’s attorney general. of New York, Letitia James, on the Trump Organization’s suspicious business practices.

On Monday, accounting firm Mazars USA severed ties with the Trump Organization, saying 10 years of financial statements it created with records provided by the Trump Company are unreliable. This led the House Oversight and Reform Committee to ask the General Services Administration to consider terminating Trump’s lease at the Trump International Hotel site in Washington, DC.

Also on Monday, Biden agreed to release the logs of White House visitors throughout the day of the Capitol riot.

And HuffPost reported on Friday that Trump had directed $375,000 in donations from his supporters to pay rent for an unused office in Trump Tower in Manhattan.

The Huffington Gt

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