Federal Judge Amit Mehta has upheld another civil lawsuit against Donald Trump over his role in inciting the violence of January 6. Excluding Trump in his personal capacity, defendants against whom claims were left after Mehta’s decision were directed to provide their responses to the complaint by February 9, marking a quick turnaround.
This case, from eight officers, targets other defendants in addition to Trump himself and makes claims of conspiracy to violate civil rights and under a piece of federal law addressing those who let something like that conspiracy unfold through harboring reasonable foreknowledge and the power to intervene but failing to actually take action. Also claimed are common-law violations constituting battery, assault, and negligence. Through the course of his new ruling and past conclusions in similar disputes, Mehta found that a speech Trump gave at the infamous, outdoor rally in D.C. that immediately preceded the attack on the Capitol was covered neither by the routine protections of the First Amendment nor the protections from civil liability associated with the office of the presidency.
Mehta did opt to dismiss the claim against Trump under the federal provisions covering a failure to act to stop looming conspiracies. However, the judge upheld claims against the Trump campaign and a Trump organization known as the Make America Great Again PAC, which were also among the over two dozen total defendants named in this case. Arguments from those Trump groups’ corner evidently centered on the notion the court didn’t hold the proper jurisdiction over them to move forward with proceedings, but the judge outlined how such was straightforwardly false. In the campaign’s case, it was connected to events (the rally held that day) and allegations of injury that transpired within Washington, D.C. As for the PAC, Mehta wrote that the unclear nature of its legal relationship to the campaign, particularly whether it constituted a direct successor group or was separate, meant it would be “premature” to drop claims against it.
Elsewhere, Trump is also the subject of a newer lawsuit from Sandra Garza, the longtime girlfriend of the late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. That case also names two Capitol riot participants who were involved in assaulting Sicknick prior to his death as defendants and sought at least $10 million in damages from each. Sicknick died very soon after participating in the defense of the Capitol from what a medical examiner deemed were natural causes, but that official left open the possibility what took place at the Capitol directly contributed to his condition. There could also soon be criminal charges covering the political schemes supporting Trump’s attempts to stay in power after 2020 in the Georgia criminal investigation into the situation by local District Attorney Fani Willis.