BREAKING NEWS: Federal Judge Refuses Trump's Motion to Halt Jan. 6 Civil Lawsuits -
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BREAKING NEWS: Federal Judge Refuses Trump’s Motion to Halt Jan. 6 Civil Lawsuits

On Thursday, a federal judge rejected former President Donald Trump’s request to pause all civil lawsuits related to the January 6, 2021, Capitol breach. This decision comes as his criminal case for alleged interference in the 2020 election continues.

Democratic lawmakers and police officers have filed lawsuits seeking compensation for the harm they claim to have endured during the January 6 Capitol breach. The breach, which aimed to halt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory by Congress, prompted these legal actions.

The memorandum opinion and order stated that President Trump argued there is significant similarity between the accusations made by the plaintiffs and those put forth by special counsel Jack Smith in his criminal case.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta acknowledged that President Trump’s assertion is “true in a sense,” given that “both cases center on the former President’s actions in the lead up to and on January 6, 2021.”

“But Defendant overstates the significance of that factual overlap in the present posture of these matters,” the judge stated.

Judge Mehta, appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama, emphasized the importance of promptly resolving both the civil lawsuits and the criminal case, noting the public’s interest in doing so.

The judge mentioned that it’s possible to implement “appropriate safeguards” to ensure the progression of the lawsuits without violating President Trump’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Judge Mehta additionally noted that the former president’s Fifth Amendment privilege is “far less likely” to be affected because the discovery permitted by the D.C. Circuit in this civil case doesn’t require him “to engage with the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims.”

“The sole purpose of discovery, at present, is to develop the record necessary to determine whether Defendant’s alleged conduct can reasonably be understood as the official actions of an officeholder rather than the unofficial actions of an office-seeker,” he stated.

Mr. Mehta determined that in the civil case, only one piece of evidence, President Trump’s X (formerly known as Twitter) account, could potentially invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege.

“As to any particular tweet, the primary issue is whether objective, context-specific facts establish that the tweet was made within the outer perimeter of his official responsibilities,” he stated.

“Say, for example, Defendant were to claim that the subject matter of a tweet is evidence that it was an official act. Such a position would not compel him to admit that he wrote the tweet; rather, it would require him simply to identify the content as evidence of presidential conduct,” he continued.

“Nor would it require the court to make a finding that he in fact wrote or directed any particular tweet,” the judge added.

President Trump has asserted that he cannot be sued for the Capitol breach, which resulted in numerous police officers being injured. He argues that his statements during a rally prior to the Capitol’s storming addressed “matters of public concern” and were protected by absolute presidential immunity.

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding President Trump’s assertion of immunity from criminal prosecution in the election interference case brought by the special counsel.

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