Trump Immunity Claim in 2020 Civil Rights Suit Rejected by Judge

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(Bloomberg) - Donald Trump cannot invoke presidential immunity to avoid a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations in his efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 election, a federal judge ruled Monday.
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Trump had argued that he was "absolutely immune" to damages for acts in the "outer perimeter" of his official duties as president and that his post-election activities in 2020 were part of efforts to protect and defend the Constitution.
But US District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington agreed with challengers - the voters and supporters of the NAACP and Michigan - that Trump's behavior was "purely political," according to the ruling.
"If former President Trump interfered with ballot count certification, as plaintiffs here allege, such actions would not constitute executive action in defense of the Constitution," Sullivan said. "For these reasons, the court concludes that former President Trump is not immune to monetary damages."
The judge granted a request by the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint against Trump and the Republican National Committee, but has yet to determine whether they are liable for civil rights violations.
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Trump attorney Jesse Binnall and RNC attorney David Warrington, who is also representing Trump in his Jan. 6 lawsuit against a subpoena from the congressional committee, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
No immunity
It is the latest such ruling against Trump's claims of immunity in DC federal court. In February, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ruled that Trump must face lawsuits to hold the former president legally responsible for the violence and disturbances at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress met to confirm the president's victory Confirming Joe Biden.
The case before Sullivan predates the January 6 attack. The plaintiffs allege that Trump and the RNC violated the Federal Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act by conspiring to disenfranchise voters, intimidate election officials and largely undermine legitimately cast ballots.
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Sullivan previously denied the Voting Rights Act claim, noting that the plaintiffs did not show any alleged harm by Trump and the RNC was ongoing. The plaintiffs asked that an updated complaint be filed with more information detailing what they believed was Trump's ongoing efforts to undermine the 2020 results and "interfere with upcoming elections." Sullivan noted that the claim could go further this time.
"The court concludes that the plaintiffs' allegations support serious, substantial harm from former President Trump's ongoing and continuing efforts to intimidate officials, spread false allegations of fraud, and endanger the right to vote," Sullivan wrote.
A spokesman for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which represents the plaintiffs, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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