A federal judge on Monday rejected former President Donald Trump’s argument that he has “absolute immunity” in response to a lawsuit alleging that he committed civil rights violations in his attempts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The lawsuit, brought by the NAACP, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and others, accuses the former president and the Republican National Committee of efforts to disenfranchise voters through harassment, intimidation and efforts to prevent Complete count and certification of ballots after the 2020 election.
the decision notes that Trump’s lawyers have previously argued that he is “absolutely immune” from damages for his actions within the “outer perimeter” of his official responsibilities as president.
US District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington sided with civil rights groups, writing that Trump’s conduct after the 2020 election was “purely political and therefore beyond the contours of immunity.” presidential”.
“If former President Trump discontinued the certification of the electoral vote count, as the plaintiffs here allege, such actions would not constitute executive action in defense of the Constitution,” Sullivan wrote. “For these reasons, the court concludes that former President Trump is not immune from money damages in this lawsuit.”
NBC News has reached out to Trump’s lawyers and the Republican National Committee for comment.
Sullivan allowed the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint and issued a strong condemnation of Trump for posing “a very substantial future risk to the plaintiffs’ fundamental right to vote.”
“The court finds that Plaintiffs’ allegations support serious and substantial harm from former President Trump’s ongoing and continuing efforts to intimidate officials, spread false claims of fraud, and jeopardize the right to vote,” Sullivan wrote.
“The court is also mindful that the individual plaintiffs are Black voters who are the particular target of former President Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud,” he continued.
The case arose before the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, as the then-president questioned the election results in numerous states. It is one of multiple civil lawsuits brought against Trump in recent years, in which he argued that in some of the cases he was immune from civil lawsuits as sitting president.