Judge Says President Trump May Have ‘Incited Violence’ at 2016 Rally

April 2nd 2017

Samantha Cowan

Just days after a federal judge signed off on a $25 million lawsuit settlement against Trump University, President Donald Trump is in legal trouble, again.

On Friday, Federal Judge David J. Hale of Kentucky said a lawsuit alleging Trump incited violence at a 2016 rally can proceed, Voices of America reports.

Donald Trump

Plaintiffs Henry Brousseau, Kashiya Nwanguma and Molly Shah say Trump supporters attacked them at a March 2016 rally in Louisville, Kentucky, after the then-candidate repeatedly shouted, “get ‘em out.'" Upon leaving, the protesters were physically assaulted by Trump supporters with video footage of Nwanguma being pushed eventually going viral.

Hale rejected attempts at dismissal by Trump’s legal team, who argued that his comments were protected under the First Amendment and what he said at the rally wasn't meant to be taken literally. In his opinion, Hale noted that speech that incites violence is not protected by the First Amendment, and Trump followers may have believed they were meant to take his words seriously.

"It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get 'em out of here’ advocated the use of force,” Hale wrote in his ruling. “It was an order, an instruction, a command.”

The plaintiffs allege “incitement to riot, vicarious liability, and negligence on the part of Trump and his campaign,” according to court documents. Trump supporters Matthew Heimbach, Alvin Bamberger, and a yet-to-be identified third assailant were also named in the suit for assault and battery.

Hale wrote that there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the assailants were fueled by Trump’s direction, including an apology letter from Bamberger stating that he, “physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit" after "Trump kept saying 'get them out, get them out.'”

Trump Rally

This latest ruling is yet another example of the courts refusing to ignore Trump's words, the Washington Post reported. Last week, a federal judge in Hawaii rejected similar arguments from Trump’s lawyers, who asked that his previous statements about banning Muslims was not considered while addressing the constitutionality of his travel ban.

The case now moves over to federal magistrate, Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl, for litigation and settlement negotiation.