WASHINGTON - A federal judge has ruled that President Donald Trump during his campaign incited violence at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, allowing the case against him and three supporters to proceed, according to the Courier-Journal newspaper.
Judge David Hale rejected the free speech defence in the suit against Trump, his campaign and three of its supporters.
The incident in question is when Trump, then a candidate for the Republican nomination, yelled “get ‘em out of here” at a campaign event on March 1, 2016, referencing protesters in the crowd.
The protesters who brought the suit said Trump supporters attacked them at the rally. "It is plausible that Trump’s direction to 'get ’em out of here' advocated the use of force. Unlike the statements at issue in the cases cited by the Trump Defendants, 'get ’em out of here' is stated in the imperative; it was an order, an instruction, a command," the judge wrote.
Trump last year blamed violence at his rallies on “bad dudes,” who are “really dangerous.”
“We have some protesters who are bad dudes,” he said at the time. “They have done bad things, and they are really dangerous and get in there and start hitting people, and we had a couple big, strong, powerful guys doing damage to people. ... It’s usually the police, the municipal government because I don’t have guards all over these stadiums. I mean, we fill up stadiums.”
A lawyer for Trump said the supporters in Kentucky were not acting on behalf of the Republican candidate.
The attackers named in the lawsuit include Matthew Heimbach, a member of a white supremacist group, and Alvin Bamberger, a member of the Korean War Veterans Association in Ohio. A third defendant has yet to be identified.
Hale said the removal of Nwanguma, an African American woman, was “particularly reckless.” The judge did not remove allegations that Nwanguma was the victim of racial, ethnic and sexist slurs from the rally crowd. Hale wrote, “While the words themselves are repulsive, they are relevant to show the atmosphere in which the alleged events occurred.”
Video of Heimbach and Bamberger pushing Nwanguma down an aisle as Trump said “Get ‘em out” went viral.
Trump’s lawyers argued that the protesters assumed risk of injury when they decided to attend the rally and the defendants cannot be held liable.
The judge, however, countered that under the law, every person has a duty to every other person to use care to prevent foreseeable injury.