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Federal Judge Rules President Trump Plausibly Incited Violence at Rally as Candidate

2 minute read

A Kentucky Federal Judge rejected to dismiss the claim from three protesters at a 2016 Trump rally that then candidate Trump provoked violence with his rhetoric to have them removed.

U. S. District Judge David J. Hale ruled in a March 31 opinion that he is rejecting requests from Trump and his supporters named as defendants in the case to dismiss the charges brought by three rally protesters because there was precedent of violence at previous Trump rallies, and Trump was inciting violence by ordering the removal of protesters.

The protesters, Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau, filed suit after they were forcibly removed a Trump rally in Louisville, Ky., in March 2016, claiming Trump encouraged a violent atmosphere and they were the targets of racial slurs.

“It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ’em out of here’ advocated the use of force,” Hale wrote in his memorandum. “Based on the allegations of the complaint, which the Court must accept as true, Trump’s statement at least ‘implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action.’”

The plaintiffs also claimed that one of the rally attendees who was most forceful in their removal and physically attacked them was Matthew Heimbach, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a white nationalist. Video showed Heimbach shoving Nwanguma, who is African American.

Hale did also reject portions of the plaintiffs’ complaints, like a hearing to address if Trump should be deposed before his inauguration.

Hale supported the plaintiffs’ argument that Trump’s decision to order the removal of an African-American woman, Nwanguma, when he knew controversial figure, like Heimbach were in the crowd, was reckless.

The case was referred to Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl.

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Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com