Donald Trump is at risk of being held liable in lawsuits related to his actions during his presidency after a federal judge dismissed his claim of absolute immunity in one lawsuit.
On Monday, Washington District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan said Trump cannot use the defense of presidential immunity in response to a lawsuit filed by the NAACP and the Michigan Welfare and Rights Organization.
The lawsuit accuses Trump and the Republican National Committee of voters through “targeted harassment, intimidation, and efforts to prevent the full counting and authentication” of valid ballots in the days following the 2020 election. He claims he committed a civil rights violation by trying to take away his rights. of the state.
Trump’s legal team had attempted to argue that the former president was “completely immune” to liability for damages because his actions were “outside” public responsibility.
Sullivan said in the ruling that Trump cannot use absolute immunity to defend himself against the charges he faces in the lawsuit, but he has previously denied allegations from the NAACP and the Michigan Welfare Rights Group. It did not determine that the president could be held responsible.
“If, as plaintiffs here argue, President Trump interfered with the verification of electoral votes, such action would not amount to administrative action to protect the Constitution,” Sullivan said. rice field.
“For these reasons, the court has concluded that former President Trump is not immune to financial damages in this lawsuit.”
The lawsuits from the NAACP and the Michigan Welfare and Rights Organization aren’t the only cases in which the former president’s lawyers have tried to claim immunity from the president.
2019, Yuan Elle Magazine columnist E. Gene Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit over comments denying Trump raped her in the locker room of Bergdorf Goodman in New York in the mid-1990s.
According to the complaint, Trump accused Carroll of lying about assaulting her to “make money” by selling books and denied the rape happened because “she’s not my type.” said it defamed Carroll’s character.
Trump’s legal team said he was doing his job as president by denying the rape allegations.
Following Sullivan’s ruling, attorney Rachel Fissett, co-founder and managing partner of law firm Zweiback, Fissett & Zalduend, said another judge agreed that his comments were not protected. He suggested that the former president could be held liable in a defamation lawsuit if he did. by presidential exemption.
“Trump is constantly trying to hide behind the immunity conferred on the president to perform his official duties as president. I tried,” said Fissett. Newsweek.
“For example, illegally overturning an election and attempting to disenfranchise voters for one’s own benefit may extend beyond official duty to acts that are ‘purely political’ and thus the ruling supports. You are responsible for doing so.
“Similarly, Trump risks being held liable in Trump’s lawsuit against Carroll, as defamation may prove to be outside the scope of ‘public duty,'” said Fissett. added.
On November 25, Carroll filed a new defamation lawsuit against Trump, covering the time he was not president.
The new defamation lawsuit echoes Trump’s remarks about Carroll in an Oct. 12 statement that he was “not my type” and called the first lawsuit a “complete scam job.” was filed in response to
Alongside the new defamation allegations, Carroll has taken advantage of New York’s adult survivors law in action to file a battery lawsuit against Trump.
The law, passed in May, allows adults who are alleged victims of sexual assault to sue for one year even after the statute of limitations has expired.
We reached out to Trump’s legal team for comment.
Correction 12/01/2022: This article has been corrected to attribute a citation to Rachel Fissett.
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