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Business News/ News / World/  Donald Trump must face civil cases on US Capitol attack, court rules, immunity claim rejected
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Donald Trump must face civil cases on US Capitol attack, court rules, immunity claim rejected

A US appeals court rejects Trump's claim of immunity, allowing civil cases against him for his involvement in the Capitol attack to proceed.

Trump has made a similar immunity argument in the federal criminal case accusing him of illegally conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 electionPremium
Trump has made a similar immunity argument in the federal criminal case accusing him of illegally conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election

A US appeals court on Friday rejected Donald Trump's claim that he is immune, ruling that the former president must deal with civil cases regarding his involvement in his supporters' attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit deemed that Trump was acting "in his personal capacity as a presidential candidate" when he urged his supporters to march to the Capitol on the day of the riot. 

U.S. presidents are immune from civil lawsuits only for official actions.

The ruling clears the way for Trump to face lawsuits from U.S. Capitol police officers and Democratic lawmakers seeking to hold Trump responsible for the violence by his supporters during the riot, which was an attempt to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

The case is one of several civil and criminal challenges facing the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the 2024 election.

The unanimous decision focused only on whether Trump could be sued, and said nothing about the merits of the cases themselves.

Trump argued that his speech exhorting his followers to "fight like hell" against the certification of the election was related to a "matter of public concern" and fell within his official responsibilities.

A Trump spokesperson on Friday called the ruling "limited, narrow and procedural" and said Trump was "acting on behalf of the American people" on the day of the attack.

Trump has made a similar immunity argument in the federal criminal case accusing him of illegally conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election. A judge has not yet ruled on the issue in that case.

While the ruling on Friday explicitly stated it was not weighing in on Trump's possible criminal immunity, both cases involve Trump's conduct before and during the Capitol riot.

In their lawsuit, Capitol Police officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby accused Trump of being responsible for physical and emotional injuries they suffered as a result of the Capitol attack.

“Today’s ruling makes clear that those who endanger our democracy and the lives of those sworn to defend it will be held to account," Patrick Malone, a lawyer for the officers, said in a statement.

It's one of four criminal cases Trump is facing while he seeks to reclaim the White House in 2024. Smith has separately charged Trump in Florida with illegally hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate after he left the White House. Trump is also charged in Georgia with conspiring to overturn his election loss to President Joe Biden. And he faces charges in New York related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 02 Dec 2023, 06:32 AM IST
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