In the News

DOJ Says Trump Not Immune From Capitol Riot Suits


March 2, 2023

The U.S. Department of Justice told the D.C. Circuit on Thursday that former President Donald Trump is not immune from a trio of lawsuits filed by lawmakers and U.S. Capitol Police officers accusing him of inciting the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January 2021.

In an amicus brief, the department told the appellate court that while presidents enjoy absolute immunity related to official acts, the same absolute immunity doesn’t extend to their every action. The department, however, declined to expressly say whether it believed the incitement claims lodged against Trump had any merit.

Eleven members of the U.S. House of Representatives and two Capitol Police officers are seeking to hold the former president liable for emotional distress and other damages caused by the riots on Jan. 6, 2021, following his speech at the Ellipse near the White House. A D.C. federal judge in February 2022 rejected Trump’s immunity argument, and a D.C. Circuit panel seems to be leaning toward affirming that decision.

. . .

The plaintiffs are represented by Joseph M. Sellers, Brian Corman and Alison S. Deich of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC; Janette McCarthy-Wallace, Anthony P. Ashton and Anna Kathryn Barnes of the NAACP; Robert B. McDuff of Mississippi Center for Justice; Patrick A. Malone, Daniel Scialpi and Heather J. Kelly of Patrick Malone & Associates PC; Phillip Andonian and Joseph Caleb of Caleb Andonian PLLC; Matthew Kaiser and Sarah R. Fink of Kaiser Dillon PLLC; and Cameron Kistler, Erica Newland, Kristy L. Parker, Jacek Pruski, Anne Tindall, John Paredes, Genevieve C. Nadeau, Benjamin L. Berwick and Helen E. White of United To Protect Democracy.