A judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that former President Donald Trump is shielded by presidential immunity for his false claims about the 2020 election being rigged, even if he didn’t truly believe the conspiracy. The decision came from Judge Michael Erdos in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
Judge Erdos granted Trump immunity for two claims made against him in a 2021 lawsuit by James Savage, a voting-machine supervisor. Savage alleged that Trump had harmed his reputation by falsely accusing him of tampering with the 2020 election outcome, which led to death threats and health issues for Savage. However, a third claim related to written statements made by Trump after leaving office was not protected by immunity and will proceed in the case.
The ruling coincided with Trump’s statement on his social media platform, Truth Social, where he expressed an assumption of being indicted in the coming days due to his efforts to overturn the election and the subsequent Capitol attack by his supporters. Despite this, Trump’s legal adviser welcomed the partial victory in court.
Alina Habba, the legal spokeswoman for Trump, emphasized that the court’s decision affirmed the president’s ability to address election integrity without fear of legal consequences. She anticipated that the remaining claims by Savage would also be dismissed as lacking merit.
Judge Erdos explained that Trump’s statements made during his time in office were protected by presidential immunity, as they pertained to the foundation of democracy and were consistent with his responsibilities at that time. The judge clarified that even if Trump’s motivation was to overturn the election results or if he believed he had lost fairly, the broad scope of immunity applied.
President Trump has Presidential immunity and the SCAM Indictment needs to be thrown out immediately. The CORRUPT ANTI MAGA Fulton County DA is getting her marching orders from the CORRUPT CRIMINAL BIDEN DOJ pic.twitter.com/PJ4obxjA84— Hatton Let's Go Brandon (@jnottah) August 15, 2023
Judge Erdos acknowledged that other legal proceedings might scrutinize the appropriateness of Trump’s statements and actions while he was president, particularly regarding their impact on democracy. However, he noted that this particular case was not the appropriate platform for such examination.
The case revolved around two allegedly defamatory statements made by Trump in November 2020, one during a speech in Gettysburg and the other on social media. Another statement about the Pennsylvania vote was made in a public letter to House lawmakers investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, after Trump had left office.
Savage’s lawyer has not yet responded to requests for comment on the ruling.
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