Trump lawyer makes court plea that former president should have immunity in Jan. 6 lawsuits

Trump's attorney argued when a president says something problematic, impeachment is the proper remedy, not civil action.

Published: December 7, 2022 1:16pm

Updated: December 7, 2022 3:16pm

An attorney for former President Trump rigorously made his case Wednesday in a Washington, D.C., appeals court on why his client should have immunity in three lawsuits related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The attorney, Jesse Binnall, argued that civil liability was not the correct remedy for individuals taking issue with things a president says. 

Binnall said the correct remedy would be the impeachment process as set forth in the Constitution and the his client being denied immunity is such cases will have a chilling effect on future presidential speech because they would expose presidents to lawsuits, according to CNN.

The case is being heard in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which consists of two judges nominated by Democratic presidents and one nominated by Trump.

The judges on Wednesday listened to arguments for nearly two hours, which was over the scheduled time,

The lawsuits were filed by police officers and Democrat House members who claimed Trump's speech at the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6, 2021, encouraged the Capitol riot.

A D.C. judge ruled in February that the three lawsuits could proceed because Trump was not protected by presidential privilege.

Binnall appealed the decision, arguing that the speech on Jan. 6, which preceded the riot, should be protected. 

"It is very normal for a president to comment on any number of things," Binnall said, but when a president says something problematic, impeachment is the proper remedy, not civil action.

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