01 Dec 2023, 23:43

Trump can be sued for Jan 6 riots, US court says

   WASHINGTON, Dec  1, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - A US federal appeals court ruled
Friday that former president Donald Trump can be sued over the January 6, 2021
attack on the US Capitol that saw his supporters attempt to thwart
certification of his election loss to Joe Biden.
       Trump could now face civil action over the violent clashes which saw a mob
overrun law enforcement at the nerve center of American democracy. More than
1,200 people have been arrested over the melee.
       Two Capitol police officers along with several Democratic lawmakers sued
Trump in 2021, alleging that he may have incited violence in his public
comments to supporters before they descended on Capitol Hill.
       Trump's legal team had argued that, as president, he had immunity for his
actions, including comments telling his supporters to "fight like hell" as
Congress prepared to certify his election defeat.
       "It is not that President Trump could not establish his entitlement to
immunity... it is that he has not done so," said the ruling by a three-judge
panel on the US Court of Appeals in Washington.
       "When a first-term president opts to seek a second term, his campaign to
win reelection is not an official presidential act," it said.
       "When a sitting president running for a second term... speaks at a campaign
rally funded and organized by his reelection campaign committee, he is not
carrying out the official duties of the presidency. He is acting as
office-seeker, not office-holder."
       Trump "recognized that he engaged in his campaign to win reelection --
including his post-election efforts to alter the declared results in his favor
-- in his personal capacity as presidential candidate, not in his official
capacity as sitting president," it said.
       The Trump campaign did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
       - Election 'stolen' -
       The 77-year-old Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential
nomination, is to go on trial in Washington in March on charges of conspiring
to overturn the results of the November 2020 election won by Biden.
       Trump seemingly knew he lost the election -- his advisors told him so and
his legal challenges went nowhere -- but continued to insist it was "stolen" by
his Democratic rival.
       He pressured election officials in Georgia to "find" the votes he needed to
win and tried to strongarm then vice president Mike Pence into not certifying
the election results at the January 6 meeting of Congress.
       After his fiery speech near the White House, Trump then watched on
television for hours as his loyal backers violently attacked the Capitol in a
bid to block congressional certification of Biden's victory.
       Trump was impeached by the House for the January 6 insurrection but
acquitted by the Senate.
       He has been indicted for racketeering in Georgia on accusations that he
tried to overturn the 2020 election results in the southern state.
       He additionally faces federal charges for alleged mishandling top-secret
documents after he left the White House.