The big local story today is the ruling by a federal judge that then GOP candidate Trump did incite violence at one of his campaign rallies in Louisville last spring, and that the lawsuit against him can proceed.
A federal judge in Louisville said in a ruling that then-candidate Donald Trump incited the use of violence against three protesters when he told supporters at a campaign rally a year ago to "get 'em out of here."
U. S. District Judge David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky also wrote in an opinion and order released Friday that because violence had broken out at a prior Trump rally and that known hate group members were in the Louisville crowd, Trump's ordering the removal of an African-American woman was "particularly reckless."
Citing case law from tumultuous 1960s race riots and student protests, Hale rejected motions to dismiss the pending complaint against Trump and three supporters in the crowd that was filed by three protesters after a March 1, 2016, campaign rally in Louisville. Only a portion of the defendants' motion was granted, but the decision means that the bulk of the claims will proceed. Hale referred the case to Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl.
The protesters, Henry Brousseau, Kashiya Nwanguma and Molly Shah, are seeking unspecified monetary damages. They claim they were assaulted by audience members who were riled up by Trump. Besides Trump, the lawsuit names three defendants in attendance — Matthew Heimbach, a leader with the white supremacist group Traditional Youth Network from Paoli, Indiana; and Alvin Bamberger, a member of the Korean War Veterans Association from Ohio; and an unknown individual.
The men were caught on video pushing and shoving Nwanguma to usher her out of the Kentucky International Convention Center after Trump's urging from the stage. Trump's lawyer, R. Kent Westberry of Louisville, had argued that the suit's allegations threaten fundamental constitutional protections by chilling political speech and that those accused of assaulting the three were not acting for or at the direction of Trump or the campaign. Instead, they were acting on their own initiative and for their own purposes, Westberry wrote.
People didn't believe me that Trump was a threat when I brought this up after this happened 13 months ago. They didn't believe me when I said he was generating white identity politics to win over white voters and that he was a clear danger to the country.
They believe me now.