Attorney for Donald Trump argues 'bad apples' responsible for scuffle at Louisville rally
Motion argues federal lawsuit against Trump should be dismissed.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – An attorney for Donald Trump has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims the presumptive Republican presidential nominee incited violence during a rally in Louisville.
The motion argues that the three people who filed the suit attended the speech to protest and "caused disturbances in the crowd," disrupting Trump’s speech at the Kentucky International Convention Center on March 1, and “likely hoped that some form of violence would break out as a way to publicize their protest.”
When Trump said, "Get them out of here," members of the crowd insulted, pushed and hit Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau, according to the lawsuit.
But Kent Westberry, a Louisville attorney representing Trump, said Trump was "simply instructing security to remove those individuals who were making it impossible for others to hear his speech."
In addition, his statement is protected by the First Amendment, according to the motion to dismiss, filed on Friday. And he argues that Trump also said, "Don’t hurt them."
The people allegedly responsible for the attacks - Matthew Heimbach, a leader with the white supremacist Traditionalist Youth Network; Alvin Bamberger, a 75-year-old Ohio resident; and an unknown defendant – have no connection to Trump, the motion argues.
"Neither Mr. Trump nor the Campaign condoned or incited violence of any kind at the Louisville speech," according to the motion. "To hold either liable for the actions of a few alleged bad apples would set a dangerous precedent that would chill core political speech by empowering hecklers to provoke violence at a political rally and then file suit against the candidate they dislike for the results of their provocation."
Also, Trump claims there was no "riot" and that the "plaintiffs have sought to paint a shocking scene, but they allege no actual injury."
Nwanguma, a 21-year-old University of Louisville student, claims she was protesting non-violently, carrying a sign depicting Trump’s face on the body of a pig. The lawsuit alleges Nwanguma was called racist and sexist slurs and repeatedly assaulted. Heimbach and Bamberger both shoved and struck her, according to the lawsuit. A video of the incident went viral soon after the rally.
Trump’s response argues that a protester "depicting Mr. Trump as a pig with the admitted purpose of protesting his speech knew there was a possibility of violence."
Shah claims Heimbach and others rushed at her small group after one of Trump’s five comments urging supporters to throw out protesters. She said she witnessed someone punch Brousseau and then she was shoved from behind by Heimbach as she began to leave.
Trump’s motion to dismiss argues that Heimbach acted on his own and no amount of security could have prevented "an alleged, avowed white supremacist from punching an African-American protester."
The motion also claims it was "unforeseeable" that Bamberger would shove someone.
Brousseau, a 17-year-old high school student, alleges he was punched in the stomach by a one of the Traditionalist Worker Party “comrades.”
“Sometimes people in crowds become disorderly and no reasonable amount of security can … prevent that,” Trump’s motion argues.
All three plaintiffs in the lawsuit have also filed criminal complaints with Louisville Metro Police. No charges have been filed.
In a blog post, Heimbach said he helped the crowd "drive out" Nwanguma, claiming she had initiated the incident by "pushing, shoving, barking, and screaming at the attendees for the better part of an hour."
The lawsuit says there is no evidence Nwanguma did any of this "because that simply didn’t happen."
Bamberger later wrote a letter to the Korean War Veterans Association admitting his role in the assault, according to the lawsuit.
"Trump kept saying ‘get them out, get them out’ and people in the crowd began pushing and shoving the protesters," Bamberger wrote. "I physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit, an action I sincerely regret."
Bamberger also filed a motion Friday asking that the case be dismissed, arguing that only one protester names him and that she was not physically injured.
In Trump’s response, his attorney argues that Trump was calling on Secret Service, local law enforcement and event security to remove the protestors – which he had a legal right to do.
"It is illogical that Mr. Trump directed his statement to civilians who were attending his rally," according to the motion.
And "Get them out of here" makes no suggestion that anyone should use physical force, Westberry argues in the motion, which also claims: "It no more calls for violence than did President Obama’s campaign statement, ‘If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.'"
Dan Canon, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said Trump has repeatedly said this same thing at events and "time and time again" the crowd has "taken matters into their own hands."
The lawsuit identifies several other rallies in which there was violence, including in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Las Vegas, Nevada.
"I love the old days," Trump is described as saying at the Las Vegas rally on Feb. 22. "You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks."
The motion to dismiss said Trump’s statements at other rallies are "irrelevant”
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified monetary damages for physical injuries and emotional distress.
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