Stemming from a lawsuit against him claiming that his words incited the violence committed by supporters at a Louisville, Ky campaign rally last year, Donald Trump is claiming that as President, he is immune from lawsuits.
Three protesters, Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau, accuse two men, Alvin Bamberger and Matthew Heimbach, of assaulting them during a Kentucky rally in March 2016, which has dragged Trump into the suit as well for telling his rally-goers to “Get them out of here” which is being considered “inciting violence” by the plaintiffs. However, Trump’s defense: ‘I’m the President, you can’t sue me’.
In a court filing on Friday, Donald Trump’s lawyers argued repeatedly the President has blanket immunity against lawsuits.
“Mr. Trump is immune from suit because he is President of the United States,” the attorneys wrote, adding, “Mr. Trump is immune from proceedings pursuant to Clinton v. Jones.”
Trump’s lawyers say he was speaking to security and not the crowd when he said “get them out of here”, but the federal judge has already ruled that it’s plausible Trump incited a riot, allowing the lawsuit to move forward. CNN Reports:
In Friday’s filing, Trump’s lawyers make several claims in response to the lawsuit, including that Trump had a right to remove protesters from his event, that getting tickets to the rally waived their claims, and that their “claims are barred by their unclean hands,” in addition to claiming immunity.
Experts say that the arguments citing Clinton v. Jones are particularly puzzling, as that case seems to almost suggest the opposite of Trump’s lawyers’ argument. While two Supreme Court cases, one under Andrew Johnson and one under Richard Nixon, held that Presidents have broad immunity for their actions while in office, Clinton v. Jones basically ruled that Clinton could face a lawsuit for actions he took before he was President.
“Generally speaking, things done before the President is president, in the President’s ordinary capacity, there’s no special immunity from suit,” according to University of Chicago Law School professor William Baude, an expert on immunity. “(The concept is) about preserving your ability to do your job; it doesn’t apply before you had your job”
If that’s true, then Donald Trump is in a world of trouble, because the actions he took before he was president could (and have) result in hundreds of lawsuits: Sexual harassment/assault, treason, fraud, tax evasion, inciting violence, and the list goes on.