February 18, 2022
The ruling means the plaintiffs in three civil cases will likely be able to seek information from the former president over his role in the attack on the Capitol.
A federal judge in Washington ruled on Friday that three civil lawsuits against Donald J. Trump related to the attack on the Capitol last January were able to move forward, saying that the former president was not shielded by the normal protections of immunity or the First Amendment.
The ruling by the judge, Amit P. Mehta, meant that the plaintiffs in the suits — several members of Congress and police officers who served at the Capitol during the attack — will likely be able to seek information from Mr. Trump about the specific role he played in fostering the chaos at the building on Jan. 6, 2021.
If ultimately found liable, Mr. Trump could also be on the hook for financial damages.
Judge Mehta’s order capped a difficult week for Mr. Trump, one in which a judge in New York ruled that he had to answer questions from state investigators examining his company, the Trump Organization, for evidence of fraud. Officials at the National Archives also said that Mr. Trump had taken classified national security documents from the White House to his private club in Florida.
The lawsuits, all of which were filed last year, accused Mr. Trump of overlapping charges of conspiring with several others — people like his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, his son Donald Trump Jr. and extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers militia — to sow doubts about the 2020 election, culminating in the violent storming of the Capitol. Judge Mehta allowed the suits to go ahead against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, but dismissed them against Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump’s son.
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“Above all else, it’s about accountability,” said Joseph Sellers, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs. Representatives for Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.