Joe Biden’s Justice Department on Thursday said in a court filing in the DC US Court of Appeals that Donald Trump can be sued by police officers over January 6.
The DOJ lawyers argued that Trump does not have immunity from the civil lawsuits by police officers.
US District Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama appointee recently rejected Trump’s immunity claim.
“Speaking to the public on matters of public concern is a traditional function of the presidency, and the outer perimeter of the president’s office includes a vast realm of such speech,” DOJ lawyers said in a brief. “But that traditional function is one of public communication. It does not include incitement of imminent private violence of the sort the district court found that plaintiffs’ complaints have plausibly alleged here.”
NBC News reported:
The Department of Justice said Thursday that former President Donald Trump can be sued by police officers over the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Attorneys for the Justice Department’s civil division said in a court filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that Trump does not have absolute immunity from multiple civil lawsuits, filed by police officers and members of Congress, which seek to hold him liable for damages stemming from the Jan. 6 riot.
The brief carefully avoids taking a position on whether Trump is actually liable for causing the riot, civilly or criminally, but urges the appeals court to reject Trump’s immunity claim and return the cases to a lower court for further litigation.
“Such a narrow decision would leave for further proceedings in the district court (and, if necessary, a future appeal) any renewed assertion of absolute immunity more narrowly focused on whether the former president’s speech actually constituted incitement,” the Justice Department lawyers wrote.
Two Capitol Police officers, James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, and 11 members of Congress are seeking to hold Trump liable for injuries or damages caused during the riot.
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