April 16 (UPI) — Donald Trump can’t be sued for inciting his supporters because the president is immune from civil lawsuits, his lawyers said in federal court filings.
Three protesters, Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau, said in a lawsuit they were roughed up by Trump backers at a March 1, 2016, campaign rally in Louisville, Ky., after Trump yelled from the stage “get ’em out of here!”
They are seeking damages from two Trump supporters who confronted the protesters, as well as Trump’s presidential campaign and the president himself. The plaintiffs said Trump’s supporters were acting at his direction.
“Mr. Trump is immune from suit because he is president of the United States,” the lawyers wrote in the filing Friday, which requests a jury trial.
The president’s lawyers contend that Trump was not ordering them to harm the protesters. “The Trump defendants deny that Mr. Trump directed his statement to the crowd,” the lawyers wrote.
On March 31, U.S. District judge David Hale refused to toss out the case. He rejected the Trump team’s arguments that the candidate’s constitutional free speech rights protected him from the lawsuit and that he didn’t wants his supporters to use force.
Trump’s “get ’em out of here” comment, the judge ruled, was “particularly reckless” in suggesting the use of violence. He said it was “stated in the imperative; it was an order, an instruction, a command.”
Alvin Bamberger, a 75-year-old Trump supporter who was captured on video pushing Nwanguma, filed a suit Friday against Trump.
Bamberger, a member of the Korean War Veterans Association from Ohio, “would not have acted as he did without Trump and/or the Trump campaign’s specific urging and inspiration,” Bamberger’s lawyer wrote.
Bamberger denied “shoving … and striking” anyone, but he admitted to touching plaintiff Nwanguma, a 21-year-old African-American woman.
“Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump and/or the Trump campaign repeatedly urged people attending Trump political rallies to remove individuals who were voicing opposition,” reads Bamberger’s filing, which seeks to have Trump pay Bamberg’s damages if he’s found liable.
“That is extremely significant,” said Greg Belzley, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told The Washington Post. “It is fairly unusual to have a person who is engaged in violent misconduct … actually point the finger at the person and identify the person who caused him to do what he did.”
Also being sued is Matthew Heimbach, a leader with the white supremacist group Traditional Youth Network in Paoli, Ind.
Brousseau said in an interview that it seemed obvious “that [Trump] was speaking to the crowd when he said ‘get ’em out of here.’ ”
He alleges that he was punched in the stomach by Trump supporters after shouting “Black Lives Matter“