Washington DC: Members of Congress, police officers, and government watchdog groups argued in federal court on January 10 that Donald Trump was liable for major financial damages for his role in inspiring the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, pressing an array of civil suits against the former president amid mounting frustration that he has faced no penalty for the riot.
Over nearly five hours in the U.S. District Court for Washington, lawyers laid out their cases against Trump, contending that he deserved to be held responsible for inflaming a violent mob, despite what are typically wide immunity protections for a president’s speech and actions while in office.
“Mr. Trump dispatched the crowd that he assembled,” said Joseph Sellers, the lawyer for a group of House Democrats. “After he saw that they were engaged in breaking into the Capitol, instead of trying to calm them, he retweeted his incendiary remarks from the rally before.”
Judge Amit P. Mehta asked lawyers for Trump whether the president’s slow response was not evidenced he agreed with the siege after telling the crowd to “fight like hell” and march to the Capitol.
Trump’s lawyer, Jesse R. Binnall, argued that the suits should be dismissed because his remarks inflaming the crowd were protected by presidential immunity and his First Amendment right to free speech. He asserted that Trump had told the crowd to “peacefully and patriotically” march on the Capitol.