Donald Trump’s immunity shield was so strong that even if he called on his supporters to “burn Congress down” while in office, he would have been protected from lawsuits, his lawyer says. He made a surprising argument in the Court of Appeals.
Attorney Jesse Binal said Trump would be immune from any lawsuit over a series of extreme scenarios presented to him during a three-judge hearing at the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday. claimed.
The court found two police officers and 11 congressional Democrats in what they described as a conspiracy to prevent Congressional certification of the 2020 election results, which took place on Jan. 6 last year. to determine whether you can sue.
Complaints include Trump’s tweets urging supporters to come to Washington, his lie that the election was stolen, and his riot day speech urging supporters to “fight like hell” and march to the Capitol. Focus on what you said.
A 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that a president cannot be sued for public service. But U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled in February that Trump’s inflammatory speech before the Capitol riots was not part of the then-president’s job, and filed a lawsuit. Binnall was appealing the ruling on Wednesday.
When asked by Chief Justice Sri Srinivasan if the president urged supporters to intimidate citizens at polling stations to prevent them from voting, would the president escape legal action? Bloomberg reported that he said yes, admitting it would be “terrifying.” .
Binnal also defended the president’s civil immunity when Justice Greg Katsas asked about the president’s hypothetical call to “burn Congress down.” But Binnal said that in such a case, the president could “in theory” face post-presidential criminal charges (not a lawsuit), Reuters reported.
Katsas said the lawsuit against Trump included “at least colorable” and possibly justifiable allegations that he had instigated the mob that stormed the Capitol last year.
Still, Binnal argued that the president would not be subject to civil lawsuits even if he was found to be “trying to undermine the constitutional system.”
He argued that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric railing against the election he lost was part of his right to express his views from the president’s “bully’s pulpit.”
Plaintiffs’ attorney Joseph Sellers argued that Trump was “not entitled to the immunity he seeks because his actions interfered with the peaceful transfer of power,” ABC News reported.
The lawsuit at the center of the appeal alleges violations of the Ku Klux Klan law, which protects federal officials and employees from conspiracy to interfere with the performance of their duties.