Appeals Court Dismisses Riot Incitement Lawsuit Against Trump

Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to a couple thousand supporters in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday March 1, 2016. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)
Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service

A three-judge panel on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against protesters at a 2016 Trump rally in Kentucky who accused then-candidate Donald Trump of inciting a riot against them.

The suit stemmed from Trump’s order to “get ‘em out of here,” upon noticing the protesters, Henry Brousseau, Kashiya Nwanguma and Molly Shah.

After the comment from Trump, the protesters were shoved out of the crowd. The notorious white nationalist Matthew Heimbach would later plead guilty to disorderly conduct for shoving Nwanguma.

Lawyers for another rally-goer who shoved Nwanguma, Alvin Bamberger, said last year that he “would not have acted as he did without Trump and/or Trump campaign’s specific urging and inspiration.”

The court ruled Tuesday that the three protesters hadn’t made a valid claim under Kentucky law that Trump incited a riot, and that Trump’s comments were protected by the First Amendment. Video of Trump rally attendees shoving the protesters went viral in 2016.

“[W]e hold that plaintiffs’ allegations fail to make out a valid incitement-to-riot claim under Kentucky law,” Circuit Judge David McKeague wrote Tuesday. “The words allegedly uttered by presidential candidate Donald Trump during his speech do not make out a plausible claim for incitement to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct creating grave danger of personal injury or property damage.”

“Moreover,” he added, “any doubt about this conclusion is wholly dispelled by consideration of the constitutional protection Trump’s speech enjoys under the First Amendment.”

A lawyer for the protesters told Reuters: “We respect the Court’s opinion but will seek further review.”

Read the ruling below:

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