Judge to Trump: No protection for speech inciting violence
- Author: Joey Payne Apr 03, 2017,
Apr 03, 2017, 0:42
A federal judge has rejected President Donald Trump's free speech defense against a lawsuit accusing him of inciting violence against protesters during his campaign.
"Presumably, if he had intended for protesters to be escorted out by security personnel, Trump would have instructed the intervening audience members to stop what they were doing, rather than offering guidance on how to go about it", Hale wrote in his decision.
On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly encouraged violence against his protesters - often issuing orders even more explicit than those in this lawsuit. "Hale also noted "ample" factual support exists for the protesters" claim that injuries were "a direct and proximate result" of the Trump's actions.
Judge Hale denied the defendants" motion to dismiss based on First Amendment rights, which argued that Trump's statement "get "em out of here" was constitutionally protected as free speech.
Trump's lawyer, R. Kent Westberry of Louisville, had argued that the suit's allegations threaten fundamental constitutional protections by chilling political speech and that those accused of assaulting the three were not acting for or at the direction of Trump or the campaign.
But Heimbach, a leader of a local white nationalist group, the Traditional Youth Network, from Paoli in IN, attempted unsuccessfully to counter the lawsuit's effort to link his action with his membership of a white nationalist group and previous statements he reportedly made that Trump could help to advance the interest of white nationalist groups. "It was an order, an instruction, a command".
Bamberger later apologized to the Korean War Veterans Association, whose uniform he wore at the rally.
He wrote that he "physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit" after "Trump kept saying 'get them out, get them out", according to the lawsuit. The suit is against Trump, his campaign and three of his supporters.
Hale said the removal of Nwanguma, an African American woman, was "particularly reckless".
Heimbach is founder of Traditionalist Youth Network.
Hale wrote, "While the words themselves are repulsive, they are relevant to show the atmosphere in which the alleged events occurred".
Violence became somewhat of a fixture at Trump rallies, with then-candidate Trump often gleefully cheering on or goading audience members who took it into their own hands to assault demonstrators.
The judge, however, countered that under the law, every person has a duty to every other person to use care to prevent foreseeable injury.
The bulk of that lawsuit may now proceed, Judge David J. Hale ruled on Friday, explaining that "the Court finds that Plaintiffs have adequately alleged that their harm was foreseeable and that the Trump Defendants had a duty to prevent it".