US President Donald Trump has won a lawsuit filed by three protesters in a 2016 campaign rally following his constant call to supporters to ‘get ‘em out of here.’
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A federal appeals court on Tuesday shot down a lawsuit filed by protesters Henry Brousseau, Kashiya Nwanguma and Molly Shah, who say they were aggressively ejected from a rally in Louisville, Kentucky in March 2016.
Judges David McKeague and Richard Griffin cited a 2015 ruling in which an anti-Muslim protest was constitutionally protected.
They argued in an opinion that Trump did not actually call for violence.
"In the ears of some supporters, Trump’s words may have had a tendency to elicit a physical response, in the event a disruptive protester refused to leave, but they did not specifically advocate such a response," it read. "As to how the offensive words were said, we know, most relevantly, by plaintiffs’ own allegations, that the words were accompanied by the admonition, 'don’t hurt ’em.' That this undercuts the alleged violence-inciting sense of Trump’s words can hardly be denied."
The protesters named Trump as defendant along with three of his supporters, including a white supremacist in attendance.
"The same can be said of Trump’s speech in this case: not a single word encouraged violence or lawlessness, explicitly or implicitly," read the opinion. "It follows that if Trump’s speech is protected — because it, like that of the Bible Believers, did not include a single word encouraging violence — then the fact that audience members reacted by using force does not transform Trump’s protected speech into unprotected speech. The reaction of listeners does not alter the otherwise protected nature of speech."
The third judge, Helene White, did not support the argument that Trump's call to oust the demonstrators was protected by the First Amendment.
"The majority opinion elides salient details of Trump’s speech that make this a closer case for me than for the majority and overemphasizes the legal significance of the 'don’t hurt ‘em' statement," White wrote.