WASHINGTON, D.C. – A groundbreaking decision today allows the lawsuit accusing former President Donald Trump of inciting the January 6th Capitol insurrection to move forward, denying immunity for conduct committed by a sitting president for the first time in history. President Trump had sought to dismiss the lawsuit and claimed absolute immunity against the allegations, brought by 10 members of Congress, which alleged that he, along with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, conspired to incite a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.
In his decision, Judge Amit P. Mehta of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia wrote:
“To deny a President immunity from civil damages is no small step. The court well understands the gravity of its decision. But the alleged facts of this case are without precedent, and the court believes that its decision is consistent with the purposes behind such immunity.”
Judge Mehta also denied motions to dismiss from the Oath Keepers and Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys.
“No one is above the law in this country – not even a former president. This is an essential step toward repairing the damage that was done to our democracy on January 6th. This lawsuit is about ensuring accountability for this violent attempt to overturn a free and fair election, and failure to do so will only open the door for another attempt to subvert the will of the people by extremist groups. We will continue to vigorously pursue justice to the fullest extent,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“Today’s decision confirms what millions of Americans saw with their own eyes on January 6th, 2021: that Donald Trump, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys lead by Enrique Tarrio not only welcomed but enabled that brutal attack on our nation’s capital and on democracy itself. Former President Trump and the groups that stormed the seat of our government must face accountability for their actions,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson.
“This case is about holding power accountable. We are pleased with the outcome of the court’s decision today and look forward to continuing to pursue justice. An attack on democracy must be met with the full force of our criminal justice system,” said Janette McCarthy Wallace, NAACP General Counsel and co-lead counsel.
“Today is a major victory for the rule of law, and demonstrates just how important the courts are for ensuring accountability. This decision exhibits the finest tradition of our legal system – evaluating cases on their merits, not politics. We will continue to pursue justice through the courts and ensure accountability for this attack on our democracy,” said Joseph Sellers, partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and co-lead counsel.