Trump doesn’t have presidential immunity from lawsuits over January 6, appeals court rules newsbhunt

Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

FORT DODGE, IOWA – NOVEMBER 18: Former President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters at the Fort Dodge Senior High School on November 18, 2023 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The former president spoke on various topics pertaining to things that happened during his term in office as well as current events. (Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)


Former President Donald Trump isn’t immune from being held accountable in civil lawsuits related to the January 6, 2021, US Capitol riot in a long-awaited, consequential decision from the federal appeals court in Washington, DC.

The decision, making new law around the presidency, will have significant implications for several cases against Trump in the Washington, DC, federal court related to the 2020 election. The decision arises out of lawsuits brought by Capitol Police officers and Democrats in Congress.

The opinion, written by Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan, states that not everything a president does while in office is protected from liability.

The president “does not spend every minute of every day exercising official responsibilities,” the opinion said. “And when he acts outside the functions of his office, he does not continue to enjoy immunity. … When he acts in an unofficial, private capacity, he is subject to civil suits like any private citizen.”

The decision to allow the January 6 lawsuits against Trump to proceed was unanimous among the three judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Greg Katsas concurred with the decision, and Judge Judith Rogers concurred in part.

The decision allows three lawsuits against Trump from Capitol police officers and members of Congress who are seeking recovery from emotional distress and physical injury from the attack to move forward.

The complaints largely rely on a federal law prohibiting individuals from conspiring to prevent someone from holding federal office.

Trump moved to dismiss the lawsuits against him on several grounds, including presidential immunity, which the DC District Court rejected, saying that the former president’s actions in the lead-up to the riot at the US Capitol riot were all an effort to remain in office and not official functions of his presidency.

The district court did find that Trump was protected by presidential immunity from the claim that he failed to stop to the riot, saying that he would be acting in his official presidential powers in that instance.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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