Judge Holds That Lawsuit Against Trump For Inciting January 6th Can Continue
Today Judge Amit Mehta ruled on consolidated motions to dismiss in a lawsuit brought by two Capitol Police Officers, Representative Eric Swalwell and several other members of Congress, for damages they allege they suffered by Trump, Trump Junior, Giuliani, Representative Mo Brooks and several right wing militia organizations (including Proud Boys and Oath Keepers) for inciting the January 6th assault on The Capitol. In a balanced decision the Judge dismissed Trump Junior, Giuliani, and Mo Brooks from the lawsuit. He also dismissed some of the causes of actions against Donald Trump.
However, Judge Mehta allowed the core allegations against former guy Trump to proceed. These include allegations that Trump violated the Ku Klux Klan act by conspiring with the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and others to violently assault the nation’s capitol.
You can read the full 112 page decision HERE. It is lengthy because Trump threw everything in the book at this one to get it dismissed. This included standing claims, arguments that Trump’s statements were protected by the 1st Amendment, arguments that Trump had absolute immunity for official acts as President, and that the facts alleged did not support a claim of conspiracy by the President.
In the interest of brevity I’m going to ignore all but the last one. Because this one deserves some emphasis.
The judge found the plaintiffs presented facts plausibly alleging that the President of the United States CONSPIRED with people criminally indicted for sedition to VIOLENTLY attack the Capitol of the United States.
In just a few devastating words of the court.
“Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the President was of one mind with organized groups and others to participate in violent and unlawful acts to impede the Certification.”
That is the judicial finding here. For the record, you can find those words on page 107 of the above linked decision.
In my haste to get this up last night I missed something as significant as the judge finding that facts plausibly allege that Trump conspired with seditionists to violently assault the Capitol. The two police officers sued Trump for aiding and abetting in the assaults on them.
The judge found this also survived the motion to dismiss. In the words of the court:
“the court holds that Swalwell and the Blassingame Plaintiffs have stated a claim for common law assault based on an aiding-and-abetting theory of liability.”
Put simply, the judge found that the Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the former President of the United States aided and abetted cop beatings. Wrap your brain around that. The President who claimed to love cops is now credibly charged with aiding and abetting cop beaters.
I’m going to toot my own horn a bit here. This particular allegation was the subject of an in depth prior article by me on April 1, 2021, and boy howdy did I nail it. I walked through the exact same analysis Judge Mehta did yesterday and last April I concluded:
“The Plaintiffs allege facts sufficient that a reasonable jury could infer that the President of the United States aided and abetted the assaults and batteries against them.”
You can see how close Mehta’s analysis is to my own on pages 104–108 of the decision linked above.
The case now moves to discovery. All the documents, and depositions, sought by the J6 Committee will now be subject to the expansive discovery rules for civil lawsuits. Trump, and others will still be able to plead the 5th (if they desire) but unlike a criminal trial in this civil case doing so can be used against them.
For example, Judge Mehta pointed out that during Trump’s J6 Ellipse speech that members of the crowd chanted and shouted out things like “Storm the Capitol,” “Invade the Capitol Building,” and “Take the Capitol Right Now.” At deposition Trump will be asked if he heard such comments. If he pleads the 5th in response, at trial the Plaintiffs will be able to argue that supports an inference that he did hear it.
The judge even pointed out issues that upon development in discovery could be significant. Again, from the decision:
The President also dismisses two allegations as weak and speculative that purport to tie him to the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. The court relies on neither at this juncture but thinks one may prove significant in discovery. The first is an allegation that “a person associated with the Trump White House communicated with a member of the Proud Boys by phone.” . . . The other concerns the President’s confidant, Roger Stone. Stone posted on Parler in late December that he had met with the President “to ensure that Donald Trump continues as our president.” Shortly thereafter, Stone spoke with Tarrio, and later he used the Oath Keepers as his security detail for the January 6 Rally . . . Stone’s connections to both the President and these groups in the days leading up to January 6th is a well-pleaded fact. Discovery might prove that connection to be an important one.
In discovery, Stone, and this “person associated with the Trump White House” will be deposed. They can plead the 5th but at trial their doing so can support an inference suggesting the testimony they would gave would have been damaging.
It’s been a bad week for the Former President. I don’t think the next few will be better.