Donald Trump’s lawyers will plead with an appeals court Wednesday to grant the former president immunity against a trio of lawsuits filed after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The team is appealing a February ruling that said Mr. Trump did not enjoy presidential privileges in this situation and the lawsuits could proceed.
Protesters aligned with Mr. Trump stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were attempting to certify the election results that sealed President Biden’s victory.
Lawyers will argue that Mr. Trump’s speech at the Ellipse before the attack is protected by “ironclad presidential immunity,” according to CNN.
“The underlying question here is simple: is a president immune from civil liability when he or she gives a speech on a matter of public concern? The answer is undoubtedly, yes,” the lawyers wrote in court papers.
Democratic lawmakers and Capitol Police officers who tried to repel the protesters filed lawsuits against Mr. Trump, saying his comments spurred the attack.
Mr. Trump indicated during his speech that his supporters should walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. Witnesses testified to the House Jan. 6 select committee that Mr. Trump wanted to go down there, too, but the Secret Service would not let him.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta wrote this year that Mr. Trump’s “common goal” with the protesters was key.
“To deny a President immunity from civil damages is no small step,” Judge Mehta wrote. “The court well understands the gravity of its decision. But the alleged facts of this case are without precedent.”
The ex-president’s lawyers want the appeals court to send the case back to the lower court so that Mr. Trump can be dropped as a defendant.