Trump attorneys seek protective order blocking deposition - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Trump attorneys seek protective order blocking deposition

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Attorneys for Donald Trump have asked a federal judge to issue a protective order that would prevent the president from having to be deposed in a Louisville lawsuit.

In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Trump’s attorneys argued a deposition of a sitting president “must be treated as a measure of last resort” and the lawsuit against Trump, claiming he incited a riot during a campaign speech last year, may still be resolved or dismissed on First Amendment or other grounds.

 “This Court should not become the first court ever to order a compulsory presidential deposition over the President’s affirmative protest,” the attorneys argued.

And the attorneys claim there is no need to take testimony from Trump as “his words speak for himself" and he would have nothing else relevant to add in a deposition. "His statement 'Get ‘em out of here' (at rally) conveys no intent to cause violence; it was merely a lawful request to remove disruptive protesters from the private political event.”

In May, attorneys for three people who claim in the lawsuit they were assaulted at a Trump rally in Louisville argued the suit 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.

The attorneys, Dan Canon and Greg Belzley, argued 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 Canon and Belzley’s May motion. “He has the time for a deposition.”

Attorneys for Trump argue in the recent motion that Canon and Belzley’s “primary objective has been to use the court system and the discovery process to inflict maximum political damage on President Trump.”

The attorneys note that the plaintiffs have asked for Trump’s tax returns and medical records involving mental health treatment or counseling.

By treating the president as an “ordinary litigant,” the “executive function would be badly compromised,” Trump’s attorneys argued. The time Trump would have to spend preparing for and then attending a deposition in Louisville would result in a severe disruption of the government, the attorneys said.

High-ranking government officials should “rarely, if ever be compelled to testify,” according to Trump’s attorneys, “and that is all the more true with respect to the sitting President.”

 Both sides have recommended a trial date of August 2018.

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

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

Two other men named in the lawsuit -- a white supremacist and a Korean War era veteran --have filed lawsuits against Trump claiming the president “inspired” them to allegedly assault protesters when they removed them from the rally.

Trump’s attorneys 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.

“Once that disruption occurred, Mr. Trump had every right to call for the removal of the protesters from the event by saying ‘get ‘em out of here,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in Monday’s motion. Any contrary rule would destroy the practical ability of political campaign speakers to call for the ejection of hostile protesters seeking to sabotage the speaker’s message.”

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.

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