According to lawyers for Donald Trump, it was completely fine for the now President to have encouraged supporters to use “reasonable force” to remove disruptive protestors from his campaign rallies last year, as he was just exercising his right to freedom of speech by doing so.
The claim came during an emergency motion asking the US appeals court to throw out a lawsuit filed by three people who believe they were manhandled at a Trump rally that took place during March last year in Louisville, KY. Fortunately for the two women and one man, U.S. District Judge David Hale refused to dismiss the case, stating that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit “described a chaotic and violent scene in which a crowd of people turned on three individuals,” with the plaintiffs being punched, kicked and verbally abused. According to Trumps lawyers, one of the plaintiffs, an African American woman, had held up a “sign depicting Trump’s face on the body of pig,”
“Trump kept saying, ‘Get them out, get them out,’ and people in the crowd began pushing and shoving the protesters,” said Alvin Bamberger, one of the audience members at the rally who was cited in the lawsuit and the one whom the plaintiffs described as the “most aggressive.” The President’s lawyers felt the need to add that, in Trump’s defence, he did say at the time, “Don’t hurt ’em. If I say, ‘Go get ’em,’ I get in trouble with the press, the most dishonest human beings in the world.”
The plaintiffs are attempting to sue Trump and his campaign, but the real question here is whether Trump should be deemed responsible for having incited, or at the very least, provoked the violence in the first place. The three people beaten and abused at the Louisville rally do, hence the reason why they’re seeking damages from the President for what they believe was a reckless incitement of violence.
President Trump’s lawyers claim in their latest motion that protesters who “initially purchased tickets and entered the rally in a peaceful manner” can also be forcibly removed if they become disruptive.
“It also makes no difference whether the crowd reacted with unlawful violence beyond what Mr. Trump advocated, because the hostile reaction of the crowd does not not transform protected speech into incitement,” the lawyers added in their statement.
Judge Hale believes the plaintiffs’ complaint is more than enough to proceed toward a trial, writing in his March 31 order “It is plausible that Trump’s directive to ‘get ’em out of here’ advocated the use of force. [It] is stated in the imperative; it was an order, an instruction, a command.”
Trump’s lawyers, however, believe that, not only is that a reasonable order for Trump to give, it is also his right.
“Without this court’s intervention, this litigation will inflict irreparable harm on the Trump defendants by subjecting them to punitive litigation as the price of exercising their core First Amendment rights,” Washington attorney Michael Carvin said wrote. “Mr. Trump had a First Amendment right to call for the removal of disruptive protesters from his campaign rally, and it is a bedrock principle of law that the right to exclude another … includes the right to use reasonable force.”
Furthermore, Trump’s lawyers filed a “writ of mandamus” with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court this week, asking the appeals court to remove the case from Hale. Their argument was that Trump cannot be held liable for “negligently inspiring third parties to engage in violence.”
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