Criminal Justice & the Rule of Law Democracy & Elections

D.C. District Court Judge Rules Trump Jan. 6 Civil Case Will Move Forward, Dismisses Cases For Some Allies

Rohini Kurup, Katherine Pompilio
Friday, February 18, 2022, 4:51 PM

The ruling determined that Trump could be held liable for his conduct in office.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

On Feb. 18, Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected former President Donald Trump’s effort to dismiss three lawsuits accusing him of bearing responsibility for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In the 112 page opinion, Mehta ruled that the three lawsuits brought against Trump by members of Congress and Capitol Police officers can move forward into the evidence-gathering phase and toward a trial, which leaves Trump and his allies vulnerable to demands for depositions and subpoenas. 

The ruling determined that Trump could be held liable for his conduct in office.

“To deny a President immunity from civil damages is no small step. The court well understands the gravity of its decision. But the alleged facts of this case are without precedent,” Mehta wrote. He explained that Trump did not have absolute immunity because his efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 election and his speech on Jan. 6 were not official acts.

Despite the ruling against Trump, Mehta dismissed the cases against Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani—both of whom were named as the former president’s co-defendants. The judge also wrote that he would likely dismiss the case against Alabama Republican Mo Brooks. But he said the case would proceed against the far-right group the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio. 

You can read the ruling here and below:

Rohini Kurup is a J.D. candidate at the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to law school, she worked as an associate editor of Lawfare and a research analyst at the Brookings Institution. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College.
Katherine Pompilio is an associate editor of Lawfare. She holds a B.A. with honors in political science from Skidmore College.

Subscribe to Lawfare