Former US President Trump has said that “absolute immunity” and the First Amendment protects him against a new civil lawsuit charging him with inciting the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.
Hours before a mob infamously attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, Trump held a rally in Washington urging his supporters to “fight like hell”.
Following the attempted insurrection, Trump was impeached for a second time by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives but acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), one of the many lawmakers who had to flee to safety while the Capitol riot occurred, filed a civil lawsuit against Trump for his role in the riot but Trump’s defense lawyer has now said his speech urging his supporters to “fight like hell” is protected by the First Amendment, and the former president cannot be held legally accountable for any actions taken while he was in office.
“The claims against former President Trump directly contravene the absolute immunity conveyed on the President by the Constitution as a key principle of separation of powers,” Attorney Jesse Binnall wrote in the D.C. federal court filing.
Binnall asserted that Trump had every right to advocate for Congress to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“Trump was free to advocate for the appointment and certification of electors … even though the President does not directly participate in those congressional acts,” Binnall wrote.
The court filing is Trump’s first legal response to the lawsuit .
Swalwell claims the former president, his son Donald Trump Jr., Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani all incited the riot and conspired to prevent Congress from certifying President Biden’s election win.