Federal Court Rules That Trump May Have Incited Violence At Kentucky Rally

David_J._Haledonald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedIn Kentucky, United States District Court Judge David J. Hale has ruled that President Donald Trump’s statements at a campaign rally could be viewed as incitement to violence.  At a March 2016 rally, Trump told supporters to :get ’em out of here” in reference to protesters. Supporters proceeded to assault protesters Henry Brousseau, Kashiya Nwanguma, and Molly Shah who filed this action.  Hale rejected the claims that the lawsuit violates President Trump’s free speech protections.  They are suing for incitement to riot, vicarious liability, and negligence.

Defense counsel argued that Trump was exercising his free speech in calling for the removal of the protesters.  However, Judge Hale that the violence occurred immediately after Trump’s worlds and that “it is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ‘em out of here’ advocated the use of force.” The court described Trump’s words as “an order, an instruction, a command.” Accordingly, if Trump is viewed as inciting violence, the words would lose their protections under the First Amendment.

For the record, I have long been a critic of the criminalization of speech, including speech deemed “violent.”   Violent speech is protected under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that citizens cannot be prosecuted for their exercise of free speech, even in the case of so-called “violent speech.” See Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447–48 (1969) (per curiam); see also NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886, 928–29 (1982). The only exception to this rule is found in extreme cases where the speech is akin to “one who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theatre.” Brandenburg, 395 U.S. at 456 (Douglas, J., concurring). In such cases, the Court has stressed that “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Id. at 447. The government must show not only that the defendant both advocated imminent violence, but also that such advocacy was likely to incite or produce such a response. Hess v. Indiana, 414 U.S. 105, 108–109 (1973).

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified financial damages from Trump and the three supporters who allegedly assaulted them.  The court ruled “In sum, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have adequately alleged that their harm was foreseeable and that the Trump Defendants had a duty to prevent it.”

Bamberger is a Korean War veteran who later apologized for wearing his uniform at the rally.

Heimbach sought unsuccessfully to bar discussion of his association with a white nationalist group but the judge allowed the evidence to be used, particularly since he allowed Nwanguma, an African-American, to argue that she was the victim of racial, ethnic and sexist slurs from the crowd at the rally.

99 thoughts on “Federal Court Rules That Trump May Have Incited Violence At Kentucky Rally”

  1. Brave woman, who didn’t do anything wrong. Anyone who touched her without her consent should be held liable for battery, and concomitant torts, let alone whomever sponsored the gathering for failing to protect her. Oh, but poor Milo!

    Trump’s beer-hall commentary duped half a citizenry into orgasm.

    1. “Trump’s beer-hall commentary duped half a citizenry into orgasm.”

      Sure, and the other half voted for him. So he’s got that going for him.

        1. No, many stayed home because many do not bother to exercise that right, for any number of reasons. It’s difficult to blame them for the apathy, ignorance and overall lack of self-reliance. However, since our form of government relies on a vibrant, civically-educated and self-reliant electorate; the blame falls squarely on the generations that transformed this country into this progressive, banana republic.

            1. Whose fault is that? Doesn’t caveat emptor apply in politics as well? The political class are nothing but used car salesmen akin to DeVito in the movie Matilda. They sell horse$hit candidates because in our “free market” political system, it sells. And it will always sell because the voters accept it. Those that don’t want what’s being sold are not just in the minority; if they decide to stay away, then the political class STILL wins. Is there a minimum of eligible voters that must vote to make an election stand? We don’t need a quorum in our system that I know of. If the “mandate” is NOT to vote for any of them, what does that matter?

  2. It would be interesting to see the commentary if JT redacted all references that would give away the politics of the situation and just focus on the law. First, a story like this wouldn’t get much of a reaction and everyone would move along to one that is politicized. If JT did that for every story he posted, this blog would die a quick death. This would prove a point very clear; the law is absolutely boring if it is just. Weaponizing the law for the sake of politics (or at least running stories that appear so), is the red meat that makes this blog thrive.

  3. Agreed Jonathan, A slippery slope. First, Trump cannot give orders, he has no authority and his followers are their on their own accord. It is amazing how Judges can twist things around. There must be a better system? So many cases are just wasting our time and money.

    He did not create an imminent danger through his words. The protesters could have just left or they could have stayed to face the adversarial crowd.

    Now if they were harmed, the punishment should be given to those who did the harm, not Trump. I do not have to follow an illegal or unconstitutional request from a political candidate.

    Like one commenter stated, The Judge is just covering his butt, and the case will eventually be dismissed or at least Trumps part as a defendant.

  4. Well, if Trump had said “String ’em up!” and the crowd had lynched those three, would that scenario have been any different?

    1. Jay-

      Your point, which is well taken, is that facts matter. Which is why I think the Judge got it right by allowing the lawsuit to proceed to the next phase, which is discovery. Allowing the lawsuit to proceed to the discovery phase allows the case to be developed factually. After discovery, Trump can file a motion for summary judgment. That way the Judge gets to decide the First Amendment issue based on the actual facts. Which is IMO preferable to “deciding” what should happen in the suit based on political orientation, which is the norm in these parts. I’m certainly no admirer of Trump, but I think it likely that Trump will be dismissed as a defendant.

      Some of the “headlines” seen on the internet on this topic have indicated that the Judge decided that Trump incited violence. That is pure crap. The Judge decided that, based on the pleadings, he could not rule out the possibility that a finder of fact might conclude that Trump incited violence.

      Even Turley’s description of the ruling, i.e., that the Judge determined that Trump “may have incited violence” leaves something to be desired. The Judge’s decision was based on the pleadings, not on any evidence. So the Judge has not officially decided anything other than the complaint is sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Of course, neither Turley nor those with views different from Turley are likely to attract readers by leading with the headline


      But, in fact, that is all that the Judge decided.

  5. In my opinion: Too many incompetent judges have taken over and the Law is not followed.

    1. They may be incompetent, but ‘abusive’ is a better descriptor. I’m hoping the President tells them to bugger off.

  6. So where does it end? When thugs at the behest of the man baby Trump smash windows of the fake news organizations? When we create camps for undesirables? When we kill those that we don’t feel hold the same beliefs that the man baby Trump says are correct and right? When the morality police round up those that don’t comply to their own set of moral perfection?

    Sad so sad what we have come to.

  7. The comments as always are interesting. I would question Turley’s assertion that speech should have no consequences. It seems to suggest that there should be no laws regarding inciting to violence.

    1. Let’s see you tell that to the BLM folks, who, at the very least, have incited riots and called for the death of law enforcement officers.

      1. Don’t hold your breath! Enigma is all caught up in the theory that white people are responsible for everything that black people do. Sooo, even when BLM kills somebody, it is because Mass Incarceration, or Institutionalized Racism, or White Privilege/Nationalism, whatever. He will find a way around blaming the guilty blacks who dindu nuffin.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

      2. When you talk about BLM folks, who are you referring to as far as inciting riots and calling for the death of law enforcement officers? There have been some chants involving an isolated few. When someone that can be identified by name is involved they are called a “leader of the movement” which is often far from the truth.
        There is a desire by some to taint the whole organization and its leadership because of the real actions of a few or made-up motives and intentions. The BLM movement is a response to a real problem that is often neither popular to admit or address. Best to kill the messenger.
        It would be just as wrong to indict all Christians, Republicans, Trump voters or any other group for the actions of a few.

        1. If Black Lives Matter, then why don’t you encourage your typical shiftless single black women to get married BEFORE they get knocked up, and quit all the baby daddy stuff??? Because that black baby ought to matter enough to have a home with both a mother and a father, not some series of johns-du jours who stays with her for a few months before moving on. If Black Lives Matter, then why don’t you encourage Blacks to start taking responsibility for their own lives, and neighborhoods. And maybe quit selling drugs to other blacks,

          To me, that is what a real black lives matter movement would look like. Not a bunch of whiners who carry on every time some stupid black thug gets capped by a cop.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          1. Anonymity gives you such power Squeeky Fromm, the power to demonstrate your racism without fear of retribution It helps to have a safe space like this one apparently where your friends won’t call you out. I choose to ignore you from this point on. Take care!

            1. In other words, you don’t have a good answer, sooo you will resort to typical, liberal, leftist tactics and call me names while you head for the hills! You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Your race is busily engaged in self-destruction, and you are too cowardly to call it what it is, or maybe you just make a living blaming white people for what black people do to themselves. Either way sucks for you.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

            2. enigma – your anonymity is bursting out there, too, buddy. 🙂

                1. enigma – or William or Bill, now that you have doxxed yourself, why don’t you change to your real name?

                  1. I perceive a marketing benefit to using the name I selected. On my About page my real name is listed plainly. Anyone with the least interest in knowing who I was always had the ability.
                    It means I’m somewhat accountable for what I say. I’m working on getting a couple books published and I’m susceptible to backlash but I stand by what I write. Unless of course I’m convinced otherwise and change my mind which has happened.

            3. Enigma, I checked her on the identical grounds previously. Leopard’s gonna have spots, klansman wanna-be gonna spout filth behind a keyboard.

        2. Oh, and here’s another thing I just ran across, re BLM:

          CHICAGO (CBS) — After a violent day in the South Shore neighborhood, a longtime resident questioned why there is no the outrage from black activists.

          “I see them coming out always downtown protesting against the police. But never do I see them inside the black community,” activist Tio Hardiman said.

          Hardiman of Violence Interrupters visited the South Shore neighborhood after seven people were killed in three separate shootings less than 12 hours apart on Thursday.

          Hardiman said he wasn’t joking when he suggested that “young people in the South and West Sides of Chicago be equipped with helmets and bullet-proof vests.”


          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

        3. enigma – they have no problems tainting Trump from a few in his crowds. What difference does BLM make?

          1. It makes it harder to not associate his crowds at the rallies with the candidate when they mimic his behavior. I’d agree wholeheartedly that the majority of Trump voters were not represented by some of the worst actors in his crowds. I wish I could distinguish Trump from them but they have too much in common.
            Regarding BLM, I challenge anyone to find any official policy that incites violence. Although many politicians (and right wing media) demonize them. The reality of their movement isn’t reflected by their portrayal.

            1. Regarding BLM, I challenge anyone to find any official policy that incites violence.

              OK, the sorosphere rent-a-crowd doesn’t count as ‘official policy’ and the undocumented shopping in Ferguson, Mo is not ‘violence’ and Michael Brown’s stepfather was not engaged in ‘incitement’. Or something like that.

  8. A weaponized Executive branch is something progressives created and that Trump has in his possession. Time will tell if he will be able to wrest control of it though. While that’s bad enough, having a Judiciary weaponized as well would be a disaster. The Left will stop at nothing to prevent the Trump administration from unwinding their progressive handiwork.

  9. If we allow Judges like this to run free and not remove them from the bench than this country is lost.

    This judge is more interested in partisan political rulings than following law. He needs to be removed.

  10. These people on the left just don’t get it. Something happened last November. HRC lost DT won. Whether you like this guy or not just get over it.

  11. If the protestors came to the rally with the intent to disrupt it. Surely ‘the president could make a defense he was trying to stop them before they caused a riot, where many more people could have been seriously hurt if it got out of hand.

    Additionally, there is proof of Democrat operatives bragging about going to every speech Trump made, with paid organizers. Taking credit for the canceling of the Chicago speech. Surely these three should be investigated and their friends. If it turns out the had the intent to because a disruption, especially if they are on the payroll of the Democratic Party or indirectly paid, along with the lack of serious injury, and there is a pattern of Democrat “Dirty Tricks”. should mitigate in favor of protecting Trump from this suit..

    According to the undercover movie made by the team that has done several impressive expose’, The majority of riots and disruptions at Trump meetings, were these Democrat operatives attempting to either draw Trump out to make an outrageous statements, like “Kill the ‘Bastards”, which he did not do.

    Trump can show a pattern of provocations, deliberate actions, intended to cause altercations, which can, and were blamed on the Trump team by most major media.An argument that by planning or intending to disrupt thousands of die-hard Trump fans, these provocateurs accepted the risk that their international actions achieved precisely what occurred; chaos. One cannot expect.to sue for damages, when they with malice aforethought, caused the very situation, in which one might expect someone to intervene before a full scale riot occurred. .

    It was foreseeable that injecting themselves in the middle of a hyped up tens of thousands of Trump die hard fans with hostile words and actions, they would be assaulted. This is similar to killing ones parents, and then throwing one-selves on the mercy of the court because they are orphans.

    They accomplished what they intended and were injured physically. emotionally and their “rights” may have been curtailed, but this was due solely to their own actions. They caused their desired reaction and should not be rewarded for their bad acts. Not dissimilar to when a person sets up 6 people in a car and they look for a “mark” to stage an accident, by stopping suddenly for no reason to be rear ended, or some other intentional trap. Surely they would not be allowed to benefit for their bad acts.

    Thank you

    Ron Luckerman

    The same

    1. Great analogy! It seems so obvious to me that one’s speech will only be deemed worth of protection if it does not offend the left. I became used to this in the media, but now it apparently has infected the judiciary?! God help up all!

      1. Debbie Barnhart – the National Socialist Party doesn’t have socialist in it for nothing. The red in the flag represents socialism.

  12. This one will result in judicial back lash by the citizens. The judge took the wusses way out. and is on a slack wire with no balance pole. Whichever way he falls will be of assistance to the moderate center voters who were the key votes in the last election and went from having no representation to learning how to represent themselves. Having tasted political blood and then getting Steak of Judge thrown at them again and again is a sure fire way to retain the Constitutional Republic and run the foreign ideologists out of the country. Low budget and high return and a great deal of satisfaction.

  13. The Court’s ruling is not on the merits. It is a ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The judge, if he eventually rules in favor of Trump, is far less likely to get reversed on appeal if he denies the motion to dismiss and allows some limited discovery. Even though it seems to me unlikely that the plaintiff will prevail, I think the Court got it right. It is a close call, though.

    1. Not “yawn!” It’s a big deal when the judiciary will strip a political candidate of his first amendment protection! A VERY BIG DEAL!

  14. Trayvon Martin’s father incited violence and he was never charged. There was a whole riot there. Be interesting to see how they pick the jury.

  15. Another judge who simply hates Trump and “Justice, justice shalt thou do” can go right out the window. This is especially egregious in light of known facts that the Democrats organized and paid for disrupters to intentionally cause harm, as James O’Keefe’s Protect Veritas proved and people were fired or quit as a result.

    Did the judge find Obama guilty for saying if the Republicans bring a knife, we bring a gun? Or the sign on that awful comedian’s show showing a picture of Bush saying “Assassins Wanted”?

  16. Please this stuff implemented by the Left Judges’ and Politician’s is bordering on insanity and extremely tiresome. It’s why Trump won.

    1. Yeah, unless your kid got beat up at an Al Sharpton rally and Al had used the same word that Trump did. You would be crying “hate crime” “assault” etc. Words used to promote violence have consequences. Don’t you have a p*ssy to grab somewhere?

      1. Except these people weren’t “beat up” by Al Sharpton supporters. They were shoved by an elderly man. Had they been removed by security officers or police, they probably would have been treated a lot rougher.

  17. Well I hope some of the families of the slain policemen in Dallas do the same with Obama, who, when he held the highest office in the land, had Black Lives Matter people at the White House and supported them in his words and deeds. Much more heinous imho.

    1. What a load… your comment has nOTHING to do w/ the topic.

      Please try to be a bit more honest when you post. This is embarrassing.

    2. So advocating for a reduction in the number of unarmed civilians being killed by our public servants is an incitement to violence? Have you no shame?

      1. Mark M.
        We could pull out of the operation to take back Mosul from ISIS at any time.
        In your view, how much of a reduction in civilian casualties would you expect to see absent U.S. support for the Mosul operation?

        1. tnash80hotmailcom

          With all the misinformation and misdirect coming out of the lame stream media, how would anyone be able to answer this unless they were somehow directly in the loop.

          You also appear to be making the assumption that we are wearing the white hats, when many with potential knowledge are claiming otherwise.

          This “war”, in my opinion, has a much greater number of underlying causations then we are being told and thus it is surely difficult to both discern the historical truths, thus future assumptions.

          The only real facts I know is that the Russians were formally invited by the Syrian Government to assist and we were not.

          1. Hskiprob,
            One argument made for totally withdrawing American troops from Iraq in 2011 was that our military presence there was inciting the violence, and causing Iraqi civilian casualties.
            Unfortunately, civilian casualities increased after Obama “ended the war in Iraq”.
            Then “the JV team”, aka ISIS, entered Iraq and raised all kinds of hell.
            If the withdrawal of American forces is advocated as a way to reduce civilian casualties, I would point to the experiences in Iraq after we withdrew in 2011.
            That is actually what prompted my question to Mark M.
            I don’t have the time right now to address your “white hats” or “we’re not in the loop so we can’t evaluate what’s going on” additional topics.
            I was making a specific point about how the absence of the U.S. military in Iraq in no way guarrantees lower civilian casualties.

      2. So advocating for a reduction in the number of unarmed civilians being killed by our public servants is an incitement to violence? Have you no shame?

        Are you capable of a non-tendentious utterance?

    3. You are so right, Christine! The Kentucky court appears to be a kangaroo court. Ridiculous! Where was the “assault?” and what are her “damages?” This is just another case of the judiciary attempting to put their thumb on the scales of politics when it comes to Donald Trump. I’m so sick of these people abdicating every aspect of constitutional rationality when it comes to Trump. Sickening!

    4. What you said! Good point! I also hope some of the inujured Trump supporters sue the crap out of MoveOn, George Soros, and the individuals who pointed the protesters at the peaceful deplorables who had every right to go to a political rally.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

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