Judge Says Swalwell Lawsuit Against Trump Can Move Forward: ‘Words of Incitement Not Protected by First Amendment’
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta on Friday ruled lawsuits against Donald Trump can move forward because the former president’s speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 “plausibly” could have led to the violent and deadly insurrection.
Trump’s speech likely constituted “words of incitement not protected by the First Amendment,” Judge Mehta added, and could have directed attendees to break the law, the Associated Press reports.
“Fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump told attendees at the Jan. 6 “rally.” He previously had promoted it, saying it would be “wild.”
He said, “(We’re) going to try to and give (weak Republicans) the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country,” and then told the crowd to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Among those lawsuits is one filed by U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) who “alleges a conspiracy to violate civil rights, along with negligence, inciting a riot and inflicting emotional distress,” USA Today reported when the suit was filed in April.
Swalwell charges that Trump, his son Donald Jr., along with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, had made “false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the Defendant’s express calls for violence at the rally, a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol.”
On Friday Judge Mehta ruled lawsuits against Giuliani and Trump Jr. could not move forward, saying they constituted First Amendment protected speech.
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Prosecutors Tell Trump They Have a Recording of Him and a Witness: Report
Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial have notified the ex-president’s attorneys they have a recording of him and a witness. The notification comes in the form of an automatic discovery form, CBS News reports, which “describes the nature of the charges against a defendant and a broad overview of the evidence that prosecutors will present at Trump’s preliminary hearing or at trial.”
CBS reports prosecutors have handed the recording over to Trump’s legal team.
It’s not known who the witness is, nor are any details known publicly about what the conversation entails, or even if it is just audio or if it includes video.
READ MORE: ‘Likely to Be Indicted Soon’: Trump Might Face Seven Different Felonies, Government Watchdog Says
According to the article’s author, CBS News’ Graham Kates, via Twitter, prosecutors say they also have recordings between two witnesses, a recording between a witness and a third party, and various recordings saved on a witness’s cell phones.
Manhattan prosecutors disclosed to Trump a recording of him and a witness in his criminal case. pic.twitter.com/EIz3bvpEkj
— Graham Kates (@GrahamKates) May 26, 2023
Trump is facing 34 felony counts in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case related to his allegedly unlawful attempt to hide hush money payoffs to a well-known porn star by falsifying business records to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.
See the discovery form above or at this link.
Image via Shutterstock
Bill Barr’s Former Special Counsel John Durham to Testify in House Hearing
Former Special Counsel John Durham, who recently ended his four-year investigation into the FBI’s decision to launch an investigation into Russia’s attack on the 2016 election and any possible connection Donald Trump or his campaign had to those efforts, will testify before the Republican-majority House Judiciary Committee next month.
The Durham report, widely-panned by legal experts but praised by GOP partisans, was the culmination of an investigation many believe was started to appease then-President Donald Trump. Trump Attorney General Bill Barr secretly elevated Durham to Special Counsel status in October of 2020, effectively to allow his investigation to continue regardless of the result of the following month’s presidential election.
Durham ended up indicting just three people. He lost two cases and the third pleaded guilty to a minor charge.
RELATED: ‘Circle of Garbage’: Experts Slam Durham ‘Wild Goose Chase’ as Investigation Into DOJ Trump-Russia Probe Ends With ‘Bupkis’
Washington Post columnist Philip Bump published an analysis earlier this month titled, “Durham’s probe ends as it began: Pointing at trees to obscure the forest.”
But Durham’s report gives fodder to the far-right.
National security and legal experts have torn the Durham report apart, with some noting his investigation directly conflicts with findings from a DOJ Inspector General and the then-GOP majority Senate Intelligence Committee’s report.
Fox News reports Durham “will testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee about his report in June, a source has told Fox News on Friday.”
“The hearing will happen on Wednesday, June 21,” Fox adds. “The day before, Durham will appear before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door briefing.”
DeSantis to Launch Presidential Campaign Live on Twitter With Big Tech Mogul Elon Musk
Republican Ron DeSantis will officially launch his 2024 presidential campaign in an event with a billionaire mogul who represents some elements of what conservative America greatly opposes: Big Tech, and clean and renewable energy.
The Florida Republican Governor, who has spent months traveling the country, will sit down with Musk and David Sacks on Wednesday, NBC News reports, when he is expected to formally announce his White House run. Musk is a Big Tech giant, the owner of the social media platform Twitter, the head of the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, CEO of the space exploration company SpaceX, and founder of the electric vehicle public transportation company The Boring Company.
He is also the world’s second richest person.
“Musk and DeSantis will host an event on Twitter Spaces, the site’s platform for audio chats, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET. It will be moderated by David Sacks, a tech entrepreneur who is a Musk confidant and DeSantis supporter,” NBC adds. “That same evening, the campaign will release a launch video, and DeSantis will begin visiting several early states after Memorial Day.”
READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene Slammed for Paying $100,000 for Kevin McCarthy’s Cherry Chapstick as US ‘Teeters on Default’
It’s unclear why DeSantis is choosing to let the momentum wane by pausing travel for several days.
Appearing to confirm his participation, Musk retweeted a Fox News reporter’s tweet announcing the Wednesday evening event. “Twitter Spaces” is also now trending.
Musk is a highly-polarizing figure, but he has publicly suggested he supports a DeSantis presidency.
“My preference for the 2024 presidency is someone sensible and centrist,” Musk tweeted in November. Asked by a Twitter user if he would support a DeSantis run, Musk tweeted one word: “Yes.”
DeSantis is far from centrist. He has hammered together what some call one of the most extreme and authoritarian state governments in modern America.
One year ago in April Vox alleged, “Ron DeSantis is following a trail blazed by a Hungarian authoritarian,” doing, “The Florida governor isn’t doing ‘competent Trumpism.’ He’s inventing American Orbánism.”
“By operationalizing the culture war into a set of concrete policies, DeSantis has transformed the nation’s third most populous state,” TIME’s Molly Ball wrote last week. “What was once the butt of jokes about gators and retirees is now the swaggering, Southern-tinged Free State of Florida—where men are men, woke is broke, and business is booming; 1,200 net new residents arrive every day.”
And the headline on a March piece at The Atlantic reads: “How Did America’s Weirdest, Most Freedom-Obsessed State Fall for an Authoritarian Governor?”
And an April opinion piece by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat of Florida, in the Sun Sentinel reads: “Ron DeSantis’ anti-choice extremism will keep hurting Florida’s women and girls.”
MSNBC also announced the event on-air.
Watch below or at this link.
BREAKING: Ron DeSantis to announce he is running for president during a Twitter Spaces discussion with Elon Musk on Wednesday night, sources familiar with the plans tell NBC News. pic.twitter.com/e3qkU4wEhh
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 23, 2023
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