LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Attorneys for President Donald Trump say he did nothing wrong as a candidate when protesters said they were roughed up by his supporters at a campaign rally in Louisville last year.
Trump’s team responded Friday to the protesters’ federal lawsuit, saying he’s immune as president from such suits. They also say the protesters waived their right to sue by buying tickets to the event, and they deny that Trump was urging the crowd to take action by repeatedly saying “get them out of here.”
A federal judge declined Trump’s preliminary request to dismiss the lawsuit, filed by two women and a man who say they were shoved and punched by audience members at Trump’s command. Video widely broadcast during the campaign shows Trump pointing at the protesters and repeating “get them out.”
U.S. District Judge David Hale ruled on April 1 that there’s ample evidence that could be seen as supporting allegations that the protesters’ injuries were a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s actions. The judge also noted that the Supreme Court has ruled out constitutional protections for speech that incites violence.
The response filed by Trump contradicts the argument of a co-defendant, a Trump supporter accused of shoving a young black woman at the rally. WDRB-TV reported that 75-year-old Alvin Bamberger said he was only following Trump’s directions when he helped remove her.
Bamberger filed a countersuit in U.S. District Court on Friday, saying “he would not have acted as he did without” Trump’s “urging and inspiration.”
Bamberger also cited other Trump rallies, saying Trump and his campaign “repeatedly urged people attending” the rallies to “remove individuals who were voicing opposition to Trumps candidacy” and promised to pay the legal fees of those who removed protesters.
Plaintiffs Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau allege that they were physically attacked by several members of the audience, including Bamberger.
Bamberger can be seen on video repeatedly shoving Nwanguma. He acknowledged in his counter claim that he “touched” a woman, but denied assaulting anyone.
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