A New York court has now rejected an appeal from ex-President Donald Trump’s legal team that was part of an effort to get him out of having to testify in proceedings related to a physical assault on protesters outside of Trump Tower in 2015.
On September 3, 2015, a small group of demonstrators gathered outside of the eventual president’s building in New York with signage displaying their opposition to Trump’s racist rhetoric. At the time, Trump bodyguards including Keith Schiller, Gary Uher, and Edward Jon Deck, Jr. violently assaulted the demonstrators — at one point, Schiller even punched one of them in the head. Another bodyguard on the scene subsequently tried to choke out the same targeted demonstrator.
Plaintiffs in the case that grew from the incident include Efrain Galicia, Florencia Tejeda Perez, Gonzalo Cruz Franco, and Miguel Villalobos. (Garcia is the individual who got punched by Schiller and then choked by another Trump affiliate on the scene.) As summarized by The Daily Beast, their case “includes claims for assault and battery, tortious interference with political speech, negligent hiring and retention, and negligent supervision.”
Trump tried to get out of a subpoena that would compel him to sit for a deposition in the case and eventually testify at trial, and after his initial attempt to evade questioning failed, he appealed — and this week, a New York court handling the case concluded that the “appeal concerning the proper standard for determining whether a sitting President may be compelled to give videotaped trial testimony about unofficial acts in a civil action against him or her is moot given that the rights of parties will not be directly affected by our determination.” In other words, Trump is no longer president, so whether compelling him to testify would interfere with the rights and responsibilities of the presidency is no longer a legitimate question.
Benjamin N. Dictor, who is a member of the legal team for the demonstrators, commented as follows:
‘We are pleased with the Appellate Division’s decision and look forward to presenting Mr. Trump’s testimony at trial, as would be expected from any adverse party in litigation.’
Besides the punch to the head, Uher — who is, like Schiller and Trump, listed as a defendant in the case — threw Garcia and Galicia to the ground at one point. Obviously, no so-called bodyguard associated with Trump had any legitimate authority whatsoever to get into an unprovoked physical altercation with political protesters who weren’t even inside one of Trump’s properties.
Once taking office, Trump repeatedly expressed vitriolic animosity towards those who opposed him, carrying on the tradition of the ignorant violence from his so-called bodyguards. Back in 2018, while president, Trump suggested that the act of protesting itself should be made illegal in the United States.