Trump asks fed appeals court to dismiss protester suit
Louisville, Ky. — Attorneys for President Donald Trump want a federal appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit by protesters that accuses him of ordering his supporters to rough them up at a campaign rally in Louisville last year.
The Courier-Journal reports that Trump’s lawyers have asked the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a March ruling that the suit can proceed.
U.S. District Court Judge David J. Hale said ample evidence could be seen as supporting allegations that the protesters’ treatment was a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s actions.
Two women and a man say they were shoved and punched by audience members at Trump’s command.
The rally was televised, showing Trump pointing at the protesters and repeating “get ‘em outta here.”
Lawyers for the president say the judge’s ruling denies Trump’s free speech protections. The judge said the First Amendment doesn’t protect speech that incites violence.
Trump’s attorneys have argued that his words were protected under the First Amendment and that he wasn’t intentionally advocating violence against disruptive protesters, noting that he also said “Don’t hurt ‘em. If I say ‘go get ‘em,’ I get in trouble with the press. ...”
“Any contrary rule would destroy the practical ability of political campaigns to express their own messages at campaign rallies without being sabotaged by hostile protesters,” Trump’s attorney wrote.
Attorney Michael Carvin wrote that continuing the lawsuit would “inflict irreparable harm” on Trump and distract him from his duties.
The suit subjects Trump to a “…costly, exhaustive, and time-consuming discovery battle where Plaintiffs are actively seeking to depose and embarrass the sitting President, based on legal claims that are clearly meritless,” the filing says.
Court documents say attorneys for the protesters have asked that Trump be deposed in Kentucky and turn over information including tax returns and names of “medical providers from whom Trump has sought or received any psychological” treatment.
Trump’s lawyers have argued that those requests are intrusive and extraneous.
Attorneys for the protesters haven’t yet filed a response.