Citing president's golf outings, Louisville attorneys say Trump - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Citing president's golf outings, Louisville attorneys say Trump has 'time for a deposition'

Posted: Updated:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Attorneys for three people who claim in a lawsuit they were assaulted at a rally for Donald Trump in Louisville last year have asked a federal judge to deny the president’s motion to dismiss the suit.

In addition, the attorneys argue the lawsuit should not be put on hold because Trump is now president. They note they have spent months unsuccessfully trying to depose, or get testimony, from Trump, because of his schedule and duties as president. 

But attorneys Dan Canon and Greg Belzley argue that the “Trump presidency is, shall we say, qualitatively different from most modern presidencies in terms of the ‘undivided time and attention’ paid by the President to his ‘public duties.’

“As of this writing, Trump has played golf 20 times since his inauguration,” according to the motion. “He has the time for a deposition.”

Attorneys for Trump have denied wrongdoing, arguing, in part, that he is “immune from suit because he is President,” that he did not order anyone to hurt protesters and that he is not liable for anything done by his supporters at the March 1, 2016, rally. In addition, the president is arguing the lawsuit is a violation of his freedom of speech.

A federal judge last month rejected the freedom of speech argument, ruling that speech inciting violence is not protected by the First Amendment. Trump has appealed that ruling.

But Canon and Belzley argued in a motion Wednesday that the judge should deny this appeal, claiming it is too early in the litigation to determine what Trump’s intention were when he stopped his speech and said “get ‘em out of here.” 

“Did he really mean it when he publicly advocated violence against protesters in several different contexts?” the motion asks. “Was he aware of the consequences of his comparable inflammatory rhetoric at campaign events preceding the incident in Louisville?”

Canon and Belzley argue evidence needs to be turned over showing whether Trump or his campaign knew there was a risk of violence and if any steps were taken to prevent it.

“Trump told his supporters to do something stupid, and as a result, the lives and safety of people were put at risk,” according to the motion.

Canon and Belzley argue it is “nonsense” in using the First Amendment argument to “violently exclude protesters from public events because there is a danger that the protesters might infringe upon the campaign’s free association rights by ‘shaping the expression’ of the entire campaign.”

Canon, a Democrat, recently announced he is exploring a run for the 9th District Congressional seat in Indiana now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Trey Hollinsgworth.

Even if the case against Trump is dismissed, he is, at the very least, a “fact witness” against two co-defendants in the lawsuit who have filed counterclaims against the president, the attorneys argue.

A white supremacist and Korean War era veteran claim the president “inspired” them to allegedly assault protesters when they removed them from the rally.

Trump’s attorney have argued he is not responsible for any actions committed by Matthew Heimbach, a leader with the white supremacist Traditionalist Youth Network, and Alvin Bamberger, another Trump supporter accused of assaulting a protester at the rally.

Canon and Belzley represent Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau, who have said they were peacefully protesting at the Kentucky International Convention Center when Trump ordered supporters to throw them out.

An attorney for Trump said the president specifically said, “Don’t hurt them,” after his “get ‘em out of here” comment.

And Trump’s legal team cited a lawsuit in which a basketball player punched an opponent during a game and the victim sued the coach, saying he had inspired his player. That claim was rejected by the courts.

But Canon and Belzley argue this is “akin to shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater, then claiming immunity because you urged the panicked crowd to file out in an orderly fashion,” according to their motion.

Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

  • Sign Up for WDRB's Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.