MAMOSA Report — A U.S. federal judge in Kentucky ruled against efforts by President Trump’s attorneys to throw out a lawsuit accusing him of inciting violence against protesters at a March 2016 campaign rally in Louisville.
At the rally, Trump repeatedly said “get ’em out” and “get ’em the hell out of here” before, according to the protesters, they were shoved and punched by his supporters.
Three protesters at the rally—two women and a teenage boy—claim they were assaulted by three men after Trump encouraged them to do so from his podium.
The Louisville, Kentucky-based plaintiffs brought the suit against Trump for “incitement to riot.”
David J. Hale denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss based on First Amendment rights, which argued that Trump’s statement “get ’em out of here” was constitutionally protected as free speech.
Trump’s attorneys argued that he didn’t intend for his supporters to use force. But Judge Hale noted that speech inciting violence is not protected by the First Amendment and ruled that there is plenty of evidence that the protesters’ injuries were a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s words.
“It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ’em out of here’ advocated the use of force,” Hale wrote. “It was an order, an instruction, a command.”
Trump’s leagal team has been arguing that his controversial words shouldn’t be taken literally. But though that argument may have held water politically during the 2016 campaign, it has since repeatedly hurt Trump’s cause when his words have been at issue in legal proceedings.
Last week, a federal charge in Hawaii rejected an argument from Trump’s attorneys asking that his travel ban executive order be evaluated without considering Trump’s and his team’s past comments about the motive behind the ban and whether it targets Muslims.
Trump’s campaign in 2015 proposed a blanket ban on all Muslim immigration to the United States — the news release remains on his campaign website to this day — and the courts ruled that this rhetoric was relevant when it halted his first travel ban, despite Trump’s team arguing that it wasn’t a Muslim ban.
In striking down the first travel ban, the courts cited former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments that suggested Trump sought to make his Muslim ban idea legally practical.
“So when first announced it, he (Trump) said, ‘Muslim ban,'” Giuliani said. “He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’”
When Trump and his team issued a revised travel ban a few weeks ago, the federal courts again halted it and again cited that past rhetoric.
Trump and his team will undoubtedly dismiss this latest example as yet another activist judge who is out to get him, wrote Aaron Blake in The Washington Post. “But yet again, they are forced into the position of saying that Trump’s words shouldn’t be taken at face value — that he didn’t mean what he actually, literally said.”
In another case filed against Trump just before the inauguration for harassment, he attempted to claim presidential immunity from civil suits based on a supremacy clause in the US constitution. The idea that such lawsuits “distract a President from his public duties to the detriment of not only the President and his office but also the Nation” came from the 1997 Clinton v. Jones Supreme Court case.
In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that a sitting president is not protected by executive privilege in lawsuits concerning private conduct, which eventually led to Clinton’s impeachment.
“…this is a completely unworkable standard when it comes to the media’s coverage of Trump,” Blake wrote on Trump attorneys legal strategy. “It allows Trump team members to retroactively downgrade whatever they want to, while leaving the good stuff intact — essentially a Get Out of Jail Free card they can redeem anytime they want to.”
“But while Trump’s supporters have certainly bought into that arrangement, the courts have yet again proved unwilling to grant the president that Get Out of Jail Free card,” Blake added.