Former US President Donald Trump is not immune from being sued over his alleged role in instigating the January 6, 2021 riot on Capitol Hill, an appeals court in Washington DC ruled on Friday. Democrats and Capitol Police officers took legal action against Trump in the wake of the violent protest.
In a unanimous verdict, the court rejected Trump’s argument that “presidential immunity” forbids him from being held liable for the events of that day, which took place while he was still in power. In a speech to his supporters before the riot, Trump told them to “fight like hell” against his election loss, but to do so “peacefully and patriotically.”
In the ruling, Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote that the president “does not spend every minute of every day exercising official responsibilities,” and “when he acts in an unofficial, private capacity, he is subject to civil suits like any private citizen.”
A trio of lawsuits brought by Democratic lawmakers and US Capitol Police officers allege that Trump’s ‘fight like hell’ speech encouraged the mob to storm the Capitol, and should pay damages. Two officers injured during the riot are seeking a minimum of $75,000 from the former president.