Feb 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. judge rejects Trump's bid to toss out Congress members' Jan. 6 lawsuit

Photo of Donald Trump looking at the camera

Photo: James Devaney/GC Images

A federal judge on Friday rejected former President Trump's bid to dismiss a lawsuit from a group of Congress members and Capitol police officers aiming to hold him and Rudy Giuliani accountable for the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — what they call a "civil conspiracy."

What they're saying: Trump entered a "tacit agreement" with Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other rioters by sending them to the Capitol during certification of the 2020 election, U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta wrote in the 112-page ruling.

  • "[I]t is at least plausible to infer that, when he called on rally-goers to march to the Capitol, the President did so with the goal of disrupting lawmakers' efforts to certify the Electoral College votes," Mehta said.
  • "The Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and others who forced their way into the capitol building plainly shared in that unlawful goal."
  • "[T]he President’s January 6 Rally Speech can reasonably be viewed as a call for collective action," Mehta added. "The President's regular use of the word 'we' is notable. To name just a few examples: 'We will not take it anymore'; 'We will stop the steal'; 'We will never give up'; 'We will never concede'; 'We will not take it anymore'; 'All Mike Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president.'"
  • "[A] tacit agreement involving the President is made all the more plausible by his response to the violence that erupted at plausible Capitol building," Mehta said, citing Trump's tweets attacking then-Vice President Pence during the insurrection.

Worth noting: Mehta's decision "leaves Trump’s inner circle — and possibly the former president himself — vulnerable to another flurry of deposition subpoenas and document demands," Politico writes.

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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