Donald Trump has lost round one in an attempt to have a lawsuit accusing him of inciting violence against protestors tossed out of court.
Judge David J. Hale in Kentucky ruled against the president, whose declaration of “get ‘em out of here” at a March 2016 campaign rally in Louisville, resulted in what the protestors claim was shoving and punching by Trump supporters.
Attorneys for the president sought for dismissal citing freedom of speech and arguing that he didn’t call for supporters use of force. The judge, however, thought otherwise, saying that substantial evidence existed that the protesters’ injuries were a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s words.
“It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ‘em out of here’ advocated the use of force,’ Judge Hale wrote, explaining his ruling. “It was an order, an instruction, a command… Trump’s statement at least ‘implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action.”
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit – Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau, attended the rally with the intention of protesting. As they were doing so, Trump said “get ‘em out of here,” at which time several members of the audience including defendants Matthew Heimbach and Alvin Bamberger attacked them.
They allege “assault and battery by Heimbach and Bamberger, as well as incitement of riot, vicarious liability, and negligence on the part of Trump and campaign.”
The memorandum opinion and order from the U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division goes on to say: “At this early stage of the case, the Court finds most of the Plaintiffs’ claims to be sufficient.”
President Trump’s team did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Read the entire memorandum here.