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Judge Steamrolls Over Trump Lawyer Who Claims He Still Has Immunity

Judge Steamrolls Over Trump Lawyer Who Claims He Still Has Immunity

The immunity a sitting President enjoys covers a lot of legal ground, and it ends concurrently with the end of their term in office. But that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump and his team of lawyers from claiming it should still apply to him nearly a full year after he left the White House on the heels of his second impeachment.

Trump’s legal team is attempting to fight off three new lawsuits, one of which accuses Trump of conspiring with Rudy Giuliani and extremist militias to violate the Ku Klux Klan Act. Each suit alleges his actions inciting the violence at the Capitol on January 6th and has yet to specifically prove how the release of White House documents to the National Archives would harm Trump. President Joe Biden has already issued his denial of immunity protection for Trump going forward.

WASHINGTON D.C., USA – JANUARY 6: US President Donald Trump speaks at “Save America” rally in Washington D.C., United States on January 6, 2021. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A little less than a year ago, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), now the Chairman of the House Select Committee, sued Trump, Giuliani, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers in a lawsuit accusing them of having “conspired to incite an assembled crowd to march upon and enter” the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021. Thompson filed his complaint more than a month later on February 16, alleging that the ex-president, his lawyer, and the militia members acted in cahoots to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. Subsequent lawsuits by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Capitol Police officers also alleged that Trump incited the attack, or—in the words of the law enforcement officials—”directed” their assaults.

Jesse Binnall, a member of the Trump team who also led the failed effort to overturn the Nevada election results with a series of conspiracy theories, characterized the lawsuits as “full of propaganda meant to achieve a political rather than a legal objective.” But like those statements, this new round of arguments was also rejected by a judge.

As in other lawsuits against Trump, Binnall advanced an expansive theory of immunity that would cover virtually any statement that a president made, regardless of whether those statements were defamatory or incited violence. But U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta skeptically replied that the Supreme Court is clear on the scope of immunity: “Context matters,” said Judge Mehta, who is currently presiding over multiple criminal prosecutions of January 6th defendants. Judge Mehta also noted that Trump’s last words urged them to go to the Capitol, and his calls for “fighting” and showing strength outweighed that throwaway line.

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Once the riot began, Judge Mehta said Trump could have simply and directly announced that he didn’t want a riot and everyone should stop and go home, but Trump did not take any such action.

[This is a developing and continuing story, please check back for updates]

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