A Colorado judge has held Trump responsible specifically for inciting the violence seen at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. A portion of the judge’s ruling to that effect was highlighted by Andrew Weissmann, an outspoken former federal prosecutor whose time in government service included a stint on the Mueller investigation.
The context was the court case brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and others that has challenged Trump’s eligibility for the ballot next year on the basis of his argued ties to January 6. Those who brought the case pointed to restrictions from the 14th Amendment on certain individuals who engaged in insurrection later holding a slew of offices.
“The Court finds that Trump’s Ellipse speech incited imminent lawless violence. Trump did so explicitly by telling the crowd repeatedly to “fight” and to “fight 46 like hell,” to “walk down to the Capitol,” and that they needed to “take back our country” through “strength.” He did so implicitly by encouraging the crowd that they could play by “very different rules” because of the supposed fraudulent election,” the Colorado judge wrote. And the judge — Sarah Wallace — rejected elsewhere in her ruling the notion there was an exculpatory correlation between Trump’s remarks and comments from Democrats. She insisted, in short, that context mattered — and put Trump’s remarks over the edge into outright incitement in the context of the Capitol attack.
Wallace did not go as far as blocking Trump from appearing on any of Colorado’s ballots next year, though appeals were quickly taking shape. CREW insisted the legal challenge would continue.
“The court’s decision affirms what our clients alleged in this lawsuit: that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection based on his role in January 6th,” CREW’s Noah Bookbinder said in prepared remarks released last week. “We are proud to have brought this historic case and know we are right on the facts and right on the law. When we filed this case, we knew it likely would not end at the district court level. We will be filing an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court shortly.”