President Donald Trump is facing yet another lawsuit, this time over his affinity for inciting crowds to violently attack protesters and eject them from campaign rallies last year. A federal judge this week called Trump “reckless” and said enough evidence exists to move a lawsuit forward to make Trump pay for his words.
U.S. District Judge David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky, citing case law from 1960s race riots, said Trump’s speech was not constitutionally protected against a lawsuit filed last year by three protesters who were attacked at a March 1, 2016 campaign rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, the Courier-Journal reported.
Protesters Henry Brousseau, Kashiya Nwanguma, and Molly Shah are seeking damages for being assaulted by audience members, including by Matthew Heimbach, a known member of a white supremacist group, Alvin Bamberger, and a third unidentified individual.
According to the lawsuit, the three plaintiffs attended the rally to peacefully protest, but were physically attacked after Trump repeatedly shouted, “Get ’em out of here.”
Heimbach and Bamberger first shoved Nwanguma, who is African-American, and then Bamberger struck her, the suit alleges. A third individual, also believed to be a member of a white nationalist group, punched Brousseau, a 17-year-old high school student.
Bamberger, who had to apologize to the Korean War Veterans Association after the incident because he was wearing their uniform during the attack, said, “Trump kept saying ‘get them out, get them out’ and people in the crowd began pushing and shoving the protesters…I physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit,” according to the lawsuit.
In an interview with the Courier-Journal, plaintiff Molly Shah said, “They rushed over toward us and starting punching and kicking…As I left I was shoved by basically every person I passed…Any person of color was being taunted and harassed by the crowd the entire time they were there.”
According to The Associated Press, Hale found sufficient cause that the protesters’ injuries were directly related to Trump’s actions, and the Supreme Court has ruled that speech that incites violence is not protected under the Constitution. The judge called Trump’s words “an order, an instruction, a command.”
The ruling, which you can read here, is considerably harsh on the arguments put forth by Trump’s attorneys, including the claim that Trump shouldn’t be held liable because protesters “assumed the risk of injury” by attending the campaign rally.
Hale referred the case to Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl for litigation. Depending on the outcome, and considering that Trump has continuously incited crowds to violence at his numerous campaign rallies, get ready for a possible new wave of lawsuits. And so much winning!