A federal appellate court ruled Friday that former President Donald Trump is not immune from litigation over his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump's attorneys argued that his actions of declaring the election "rigged" were part of his duties as president, and he should be shielded from civil lawsuits. A court disagreed, saying that the president does not enjoy immunity for actions made outside of the official functions of the office.
The court cited a 1997 case, Clinton v. Jones, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the president does not have immunity for acts committed outside of the office.
The plaintiffs in the case are Capitol Police officers and members of Congress who are seeking damages for harms they suffered during the riot. In a court filing, The court says the plaintiffs allege that Trump "conspired with political allies and supporters to obtain a second term despite his defeat in the 2020 election."
The court ruled that Trump decrying the results of the 2020 election did not fall within the scope of his official duties.
"When a first-term President opts to seek a second term, his campaign to win re-election is not an official presidential act," the panel of judges wrote. "The Office of the Presidency as an institution is agnostic about who will occupy it next. And campaigning to gain that office is not an official act of the office."
The lawsuit is among a number of legal issues Trump is encountering. He currently is facing multiple criminal indictments, as well as a civil trial in New York that alleges he overinflated the value of his properties.
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