US Justice Dept seeks rejection of Trump immunity claim in 6 January lawsuits

Former US president Donald Trump.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

  • The US Justice Department says a lawsuit against former president Donald Trump over the 6 January attack should proceed.
  • Democrats in Congress and police officers have filed several civil lawsuits over the Capitol riots.
  • Trump has argued he is protected from the lawsuit by immunity conferred on a president performing his official duties.

The US Justice Department on Thursday urged an appeals court to reject former president Donald Trump’s claim that he is automatically immune from lawsuits over his supporters’ assault on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had asked for the Justice Department’s view as it weighs whether to allow civil lawsuits against Trump over the riot.

Trump had argued that he was acting as president when he told a crowd of supporters he would never concede the 2020 election and to “fight like hell” ahead of the congressional certification of president Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

The appeals court heard arguments in the case in December.

The US Supreme Court held in 1982 that presidents could not be sued over their official acts. But US District Judge Amit Mehta ruled last February that Trump’s fiery speech on 6 January did not fall within his official scope of duties, allowing the lawsuits to proceed. Trump is appealing that ruling.

The Justice Department said in Thursday’s filing that it was not taking a stance on whether Trump’s speech encouraged the Capitol riots. However, it told the court that “incitement of imminent private violence” would not fall within the scope of a president’s official duties.

Lawyers for Trump and the plaintiffs in the lawsuits did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Democrats in Congress and police officers have filed several civil lawsuits over the Capitol riots, with some alleging that Trump conspired with others to block the certification of Biden’s 2020 election win.

The Justice Department has weighed in on litigation targeting US officials’ 6 January conduct.

In July 2021, it rejected a request by Mo Brooks, who was a Republican Congressman at the time, to defend him from a lawsuit by Democratic House member Eric Swalwell. The department said allegedly inciting an attack on the US Capitol would not fall “within the scope of employment of a representative – or any federal employee.”

At the same time, the Justice Department is defending Trump in a defamation case from the writer E. Jean Carroll, who has accused the former president of raping her in the mid-1990 over statements he made while in office disparaging Carroll and her claims.

Justice Department lawyers have said Trump is immune from the defamation lawsuit. In January, a different Washington appeals court heard arguments on whether Trump was acting as president under local law when he commented and was expected to rule on the immunity question.

Related Posts

Ukraine has told world leaders gathered in London that it expects to secured billions to help rebuild the country.

Ukrainian drone strikes Russia’s Kursk, Zelensky says US business is ready to invest in Ukraine

Ukraine hit an administrative building in Kursk. The railway station was damaged in August. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met US businessmen. A Ukrainian drone strike hit an…

Massive US alligator killed after police find woman's body still in its mouth

Massive US alligator killed after police find woman’s body still in its mouth

An alligator killed a woman in Florida. Authorities killed the 4m animal. The woman’s body was in the animal’s mouth. An alligator was killed as it was…

Philippines navy

‘Our maritime domains’: Philippines slams Chinese barrier in South China Sea

The Philippines accused China of installing a barrier in the South China Sea. The barrier prevents fishermen from accessing the Scarborough Shoal. China claims 90% of the…

'Let's get this done': Biden blames 'extreme Republicans' for threatening US government shutdown

‘Let’s get this done’: Biden blames ‘extreme Republicans’ for threatening US government shutdown

The US government faces a shutdown on 30 September. US President Joe Biden blamed Republicans for the impasse. He wants any budget to include $24 billion in…

Rupert Murdoch, global media mogul and conservative kingmaker

Rupert Murdoch, global media mogul and conservative kingmaker

The 92-year-old Murdoch announced he is stepping back from both News Corp and Fox, conglomerates which made him a billionaire. His eldest son Lachlan will become the…

The water at Terkos Dam has receded significantly.

Cattle graze in dry reservoirs as drought grips Istanbul

The water at Terkos Dam has receded significantly. Omer Urer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images In the 11 months to September, Turkey’s northwest received 23% less precipitation…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *