Protesters infringed on President Trump’s freedom of speech by interrupting a campaign rally last year in Louisville, Kentucky, lawyers for the president argued Thursday.
Responding to a lawsuit brought against the president last month in Louisville federal court, Mr. Trump’s attorneys wrote in a legal filing Thursday that protesters “interfered with the Trump campaign’s First Amendment right” when they disrupted his March 2016 political rally.
“Of course, protesters have their own First Amendment right to express dissenting views, but they have no right to do so as part of the campaign rally of the political candidates they oppose,” the Trump attorneys wrote.
The claim comes in response to litigation initiated last month by three anti-Trump protesters who allege they were assaulted at the rally as a result of the president’s own instructions.
“Get ‘em out of here!” Mr. Trump repeatedly told the crowd when his rally was disrupted, allegedly provoking some of his own supporters to physically assault the protesters, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Trump’s attorneys have adamantly denied responsibility for the alleged assault, and wrote in Thursday’s filing that the claim is worthy of being rejected in part because the protesters infringed on the president’s own freedom of speech.
Indeed, Mr. Trump’s attorneys added that the First Amendment allowed the president to order his crowd, “Get ‘em out of here!”
“[E]ven if Mr. Trump implicitly instructed the audience to remove the protesters by using force if necessary, his speech was still entirely lawful and protected under the First Amendment unless he advocated a greater degree of force than was necessary under the circumstances,” his attorneys wrote. “Absent that type of unlawful advocacy, Mr. Trump cannot be held liable for incitement. It makes no difference whether the crowd reacted with unlawful violence beyond what Mr. Trump advocated.”
Last week, Mr. Trump’s attorneys wrote in a separate filing that the president can’t be sued for allegedly provoking his supporters to assault protesters because his standing as president precludes him from civil litigation.
One of the accused assailants, meanwhile, brought their own case against Mr. Trump last week, claiming that he was, in fact, provoked by the president to take action against a protester.
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