In a move that will surely delight conservatives and frustrate liberals, a judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that former President Donald Trump cannot be sued by an election official over statements he made questioning the integrity of the 2020 election. Judge Michael Erdos of Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas cited presidential immunity in his decision, which means Trump is protected from legal action for his actions and statements while in office.
The lawsuit was brought by James Savage, a supervisor of Pennsylvania’s voting machines during the 2020 election. Savage claimed that Trump, along with Rudy Giuliani and others, conspired to slander him, resulting in death threats and two heart attacks. However, the judge ruled that while the propriety of Trump’s statements can be examined in other legal proceedings, this particular case is not the appropriate place to do so.
It seems that Judge Erdos agreed with the argument that Trump’s statements fell within his official duties as president, as he was communicating with the public about matters of public interest. Trump’s claims of fraudulent activity in the state’s election counting process, although not backed by evidence, were deemed a matter of great public concern. This ruling upholds the long-standing principle of presidential immunity.
JUST IN: A Pennsylvania judge has declared that Donald Trump cannot be sued by election officials over unverified claims he made casting suspicion on the 2020 election results during his Presidency, due to the protection provided by Presidential immunity.https://t.co/njiuTwJtP3
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) August 3, 2023
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s legal spokeswoman, Alina Habba, celebrated the court victory and affirmed the President’s right to address the integrity of the election without fear of liability. She expressed confidence that the rest of Savage’s claims would also be dismissed as meritless.
However, not everyone is pleased with the decision. Special Counsel Jack Smith has indicted Trump for his speech and election challenges leading up to the Capitol riot on January 6th. Constitutional attorney Jonathan Turley criticized this indictment, arguing that it infringes on Trump’s First Amendment rights. Turley warns that it could set a dangerous precedent, allowing the government to arrest those accused of spreading disinformation in elections.
Turley also questions whether this indictment would hold up to judicial scrutiny at the Supreme Court level, citing previous cases where the Court overturned convictions against political leaders. He suggests that this indictment may further undermine public trust in the Justice Department’s pursuit of political prosecutions. It’s clear that there are differing views on Trump’s legal immunity, and this issue is likely to continue fueling debate for quite some time.