Donald Trump lost an effort to delay a civil lawsuit seeking to hold him liable for the violence at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — including the death of a police officer — while he’s facing criminal charges related to the attack.
(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump lost an effort to delay a civil lawsuit seeking to hold him liable for the violence at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — including the death of a police officer — while he’s facing criminal charges related to the attack.
US District Judge Amit Mehta on Wednesday denied Trump’s request for an “indefinite” pause on a case brought on behalf of the estate of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. The judge wrote that Trump’s request was premature since the litigation was in an early phase and that Sicknick’s estate and the public had an interest “in moving this matter forward.”
The ruling is a setback for Trump as he tries to scale back the demands of his crowded legal calendar amid his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Read More: Trump Seeks Pause on Jan. 6 Civil Suit While He Fights Charges
Of the four criminal indictments against Trump, two allege he played a central role in events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack. Trump’s lawyers argued that because of that overlap, allowing the civil suit to proceed would put Trump in an “untenable position” of potentially having to sacrifice a more robust defense against the civil claims — by invoking his constitutional right to not testify, for instance — to protect himself against the criminal charges.
A lawyer for Trump did not immediately return a request for comment. Lawyers for Sandra Garza, who brought the case and was Sicknick’s partner, opposed Trump’s motion as a baseless “delay tactic.” They also were not immediately reached.
Sicknick was outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and was hit in the face with a chemical spray as he and his colleagues tried to push back the mob. He died the next day. The medical examiner in Washington concluded Sicknick died of “natural causes” but also said the events of Jan. 6 “played a role in his condition.”
Trump is a defendant in several long-running civil cases related to the Capitol attack. He has denied responsibility for the violence. A separate trio of lawsuits brought by police officers and Democratic members of Congress has been on hold as a federal appeals court considers Trump’s claim of absolute presidential immunity. Mehta is handling those cases and had rejected that defense.
Trump is arguing immunity against Garza’s lawsuit as well but Mehta hasn’t ruled on that issue yet. Mehta on Wednesday rebuffed Trump’s argument that the civil suit couldn’t move forward until the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled on the immunity issue in the other Jan. 6 cases.
Mehta wrote that Trump can renew his request for a pause in the Garza case due to conflicts with his criminal litigation if he fails to get the case dismissed.
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