Capitol Police officers' lawsuit against Trump can proceed, judges rule

 December 31, 2023

Just as former President Donald Trump caught several much-needed legal breaks in some pending cases, he'll soon face another civil case. 

According to CBS News, Trump will now face a lawsuit brought against him by a group of U.S. Capitol Police officers regarding his alleged actions on Jan. 6, 2021 leading up to and during the Capitol protest.

On Friday, a group of judges in a federal appeals court ruled that the lawsuit could move forward.

The three-judge panel shot down Trump's immunity defense, similar to a decision brought against him by two Capitol Police officers and a group of House Democrats.

What happened?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit based its decision on a D.C. Circuit's decision earlier in December that ruled Trump wasn't immune from the case.

"'Whether [President Trump's] actions involved speech on matters of public concern bears no inherent connection to the essential distinction between official and unofficial acts,'" Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan and Judges Bradley Garcia and Judith Rogers wrote in their decision Friday.

The judges decided the case was "indistinguishable" from the other similar case brought against him.

Trump's fight for immunity was shot down as the court decided his actions that day were not part of his presidential duties, despite whether or not he was partially responsible for the riot.

"When a first-term president opts to seek a second term, his campaign to win re-election is not an official presidential act," Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote.

He added, "The Office of the Presidency as an institution is agnostic about who will occupy it next. And campaigning to gain that office is not an official act of the office."

What's the case?

The group of Capitol Police officers suing Trump also name multiple additional defendants, including members of Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers. Roger Stone was also named.

CBS News noted:

The case was brought in August 2021 by seven Capitol Police officers who defended the Capitol complex on Jan. 6 and were assaulted and harassed during the riot, which they said was the result of "unlawful actions" by Trump and his allies.

The group of officers reportedly seek "civil damages for the physical and emotional injuries" they claimed to have suffered during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Only time will tell if this case is another thorn in the side of Trump's 2024 presidential campaign.

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