A federal judge has ruled that Trump cannot claim freedom of speech when his words incite violence against others.
President Donald Trump had a tumultuous campaign, one that will go down in the history books for the extraordinary amount of violence that it engendered.
Now, a federal judge has decided that Trump may be responsible for the physical assaults that his supporters inflicted on the protesters who showed up to his rallies.
Two women and one man who were beaten at Trump’s March 1, 2016 rally in Louisville, Kentucky are suing the president for telling his supporters to punch and shove them, the Associated Press reports. They are also suing three more men in particular — Matthew Heimbach, Alvin Bamberger, and one person that has yet to be identified.
The three protestors’ ordeal was recorded on video from different angles and was heavily featured in media clips in the run-up to election day. Trump is featured pointing directly at the protesters and whipping his supporters up into a fervor, yelling “get them out.”
The judge ruled that inciting violence isn’t protected under free speech, which Trump’s lawyers had been claiming in hopes of dismissing the case.
“It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ’em out of here’ advocated the use of force,” the judge wrote, according to the AP. “It was an order, an instruction, a command.”
Bamberger, who apologized for his actions, wrote that he only “physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit” because “Trump kept saying ‘get them out, get them out,'” according to the AP.
Lastly, the judge ruled that Trump had a duty to prevent foreseeable injury, rejecting his lawyers’ claims that the protestors brought the abuse on themselves by showing up to his rally.
“In sum, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have adequately alleged that their harm was foreseeable and that the Trump Defendants had a duty to prevent it,” the judge wrote.
The lawsuit will now move on to the next stage in the judicial process, which is the discovery phase of gathering and revealing evidence.
Next, check out why Congress can, but won’t, force Trump to release his tax returns, before finding out how Trump said he will make the U.S. act alone on the North Korean nuclear threat if China fails to cooperate.