A federal judge on Friday ruled that former President Donald Trump must face allegations that he stoked violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and conspired with extremist groups to disrupt Congress.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta of the District of Columbia found that the plaintiffs, which include Democratic members of Congress and U.S. Capitol police officers, plausibly alleged that Trump had a “tacit agreement” with the leader of the far-right Proud Boys group and members of the Oath Keepers militia to stop the election certification. Mehta determined that Trump’s appeal to his supporters on the morning of Jan. 6 to “fight like hell” against the certification could plausibly be considered incitement to violence.
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The 112-page ruling came in response to three lawsuits filed in the months after the attack on the Capitol that alleged Trump, his associates and members of right-wing extremist groups violated the Ku Klux Klan Act by conspiring to disrupt Congress’ certification and storm the Capitol.
“Today is a major victory for the rule of law, and demonstrates just how important the courts are for ensuring accountability,” said Joseph Sellers, a partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, who is the co-lead counsel for a group of Democratic members of Congress in one of the cases. “This decision exhibits the finest tradition of our legal system – evaluating cases on their merits, not politics. We will continue to pursue justice through the courts and ensure accountability for this attack on our democracy.
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