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Trump allowed to be sued in Capitol riot case in U.S.

Trump allowed to be sued in Capitol riot case in U.S. Donald Trump (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Former President of the United States, Donald Trump, could be held civilly liable for the actions of the participants in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, according to The Washington Post.

A panel of three judges ruled that Trump is not shielded by "presidential immunity" from legal liability for those riots.

The unanimous decision by a federal appeals court in Washington can still be appealed.

The article notes that this decision sheds light on how the court might consider Trump's argument for presidential immunity against criminal prosecution for his attempts to stay in power after the 2020 election.

"When a first-term President opts to seek a second term, his campaign to win re-election is not an official presidential act," said Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan.

What happened before

Two Capitol Police officers and about a dozen Democratic lawmakers filed a lawsuit against Trump in 2021, alleging that the former president potentially incited the unrest on January 6 by telling his supporters that "the election was stolen" and urging them to march to the Capitol and "fight like hell."

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit under a law enacted about 150 years ago, which prohibits the use of force, threats, or intimidation to hinder officials from carrying out their duties and allows anyone harmed by such actions to seek damages.

According to the plaintiffs, Trump violated a law designed to combat violence in the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War by conspiring with far-right groups to prevent lawmakers from confirming Joe Biden's victory in the presidential elections.

Trump may persuade the judge about his "immunity"

The appeals court made it clear that today's decision was just preliminary. Therefore, Trump can still present evidence to persuade the judge that presidential immunity extends to any specific action or statement.

However, it's noted that Trump isn't immune in advance from the need to defend himself in the lawsuit, as he previously claimed.

The material also points out that this appeals court decision will impact another case where eight Capitol Police officers are suing Trump for injuries they sustained during the riots. In this case, the former president is likely to seek the case's consideration in the District of Columbia and later in the US Supreme Court.

Capitol riot

On January 6, 2021, supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol and caused disturbances, resulting in the deaths of 5 individuals. This occurred while Congress was set to certify the results of the presidential elections.

In July of this year, the US Department of Justice charged former President Donald Trump in connection with the Capitol riot.

In November, a court sentenced a former State Department employee to 5 years in prison for his involvement in the Capitol riot.

Legal cases against Trump

Trump faces over 90 criminal charges across multiple cases, including paying $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, undermining the 2020 elections, and unlawfully handling classified information after leaving office, among others.