Trump opted against a Supreme Court appeal of the civil immunity claims in the Jan. 6 lawsuits

Trump opted against a Supreme Court appeal of the civil immunity claims in the Jan. 6 lawsuits

WASHINGTON — Lawsuits seeking to hold Donald Trump personally accountable for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol may continue after the former president decided not to take his broad immunity to the Supreme Court.

Trump had a deadline Thursday to file a petition with the Supreme Court challenging an appeals court ruling from December that rejected his immunity arguments, but he did not do so.

The appeals court clarified that Trump can still claim immunity in three cases brought by Capitol Police officers and members of Congress.

“President Trump will continue to fight for presidential immunity across the spectrum,” said Trump spokesman Steven Cheung.

The civil cases against Trump are different from the criminal case against him. It has been up since January 6. On Monday, Trump asked the justices to stay the case on immunity grounds.

Trump's lawyers have argued that any action he takes on Jan. 6 would fall within the scope of his responsibilities as president and thereby exempt him from civil liability. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected that argument, ruling that Trump was acting in his role as a political candidate running for office, not as president.

But the court added that Trump “must be afforded an opportunity to establish his own facts on immunity” to show he was acting in his official capacity as the cases proceed in district court. Later, the court said he could seek dismissal of the cases again.

The legal arguments Trump is making are similar to those he is making in his criminal case as he seeks to block the trial before the November election.

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In rejecting Trump's immunity claim in the criminal case, a different panel of judges on the same appeals court did not directly address whether Trump's actions were official acts. The court instead held that they were official acts and found that Trump could not claim immunity.

Capital Police Officer James Plassingham, who was injured in the January 6 riots, is the lead plaintiff in the civil immunity suit. Co-plaintiffs in several cases consolidated in the appeal include other police officers and lawmakers who were at the Capitol that day.


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