Donald Trump. – AP file

Published: Fri, Dec 1, 2023, 8:46 p.m

Last updated: Friday, December 1, 2023, 8:49 p.m

A US appeals court ruled on Friday that Donald Trump faces civil charges over his role in his supporters’ attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, rejecting the former president’s claim that he was immune.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that Trump acted “in his personal capacity as a presidential candidate” when he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol. US presidents are only exempt from civil lawsuits for official acts.

The ruling paves the way for Trump to face lawsuits from police officers and U.S. lawmakers who want to blame Trump for violence by his supporters during the riots that were an attempt to overturn his 2020 election defeat.


Trump is currently the leading candidate for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the 2024 election.

The unanimous decision focused only on the question of whether Trump could be sued and said nothing about the merits of the cases themselves.

Trump argued that his speech, in which he urged his supporters to fight “with all their might” against the certification of the election, was related to a “matter of public interest” and was his official responsibility. A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Trump has made a similar immunity argument in the federal criminal case, accusing him of illegally conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election. A judge has not yet ruled on the matter in this case.

While Friday’s ruling specifically stated that it does not affect Trump’s potential immunity from prosecution, both cases involve Trump’s conduct before and during the Capitol insurrection.

In their lawsuit, Capitol Police officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby accused Trump of being responsible for the physical and mental injuries they suffered as a result of the attack on the Capitol.

“Today’s verdict makes clear that those who endanger our democracy and the lives of those sworn to defend it will be held accountable,” Patrick Malone, a lawyer for the officers, said in a statement.

Two lawsuits were filed by House Democrats, one by 10 lawmakers, including Reps. Jerry Nadler and Maxine Waters, and the other by Rep. Eric Swalwell. (

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