Though the 2016 election now seems like a distant dream amid the hi-jinks and tragedies of this administration, for President Trump, the actions he took during the year are coming back to haunt him in a big way.
In a relatively unexpected ruling, Federal Judge David J. Hale elected not to have a case against the POTUS thrown out of court.
The lawsuit against the President was lodged by three protesters who infiltrated a Trump rally in March of 2016, and were violently assaulted by Trump supporters as Trump said, “get ’em out of here.”
The beaten protesters are now accusing Trump of having incited the violence they faced, and the judge is backing them up.
Though Trump’s attorney attempted to have the case thrown out on free speech grounds, Judge Hale reminded the attorney that speech inciting violence is not protected under the First Amendment. The judge also noted that there appeared to be significant evidence to suggest that Trump’s comments at the Kentucky rally did directly cause or contribute to the harm brought to the protesters.
“It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ‘em out of here’ advocated the use of force. It was an order, an instruction, a command…. Trump’s statement at least implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action.”
It is not clear whether this ruling will have any bearing on the final outcome of this case, but it is significant that the judge saw reasonable evidence to suggest that the case should be heard.
Most people were familiar with the violent aspects of Trump’s campaign and rallies. For some time early in 2016, instances of violence against protesters at his events was rampant, so much so that he was forced to address it later, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way. The violence seemingly inherent in his campaign was inflamed by his appeals to white supremacists.