Politics - News Analysis

Harvard Law Professor: Trump Could Face Bankruptcy Due to Capitol Police Lawsuits

It’s one of those kinds of interviews that you love to see — one in which a highly-respected expert on constitutional law who has argued three-dozen cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court answers compelling questions that demonstrate the fact that former President Donald Trump faces real peril over something that seems inauspicious and unassuming, Raw Story reports.

This, in fact, may be the proverbial David to Trump’s Goliath.

Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, whom I mentioned above, talked to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who had questions about a recent column Tribe wrote for The Boston Globe. In writing the column he fleshed out all of the legal jeopardy the former president faces and pinpointed the legal he thinks may be the most damaging to Trump.

“Yet it is a no-frills lawsuit filed March 30 by two Capitol Police officers who stood their ground against the insurrectionists, and paid a heavy physiological and psychological toll for doing so, that holds perhaps the greatest promise of making Trump pay for directing the violent mob on his command,” Tribe wrote.

It’s really kind of amazing that something seemingly so plain and unsophisticated could be Trump’s undoing but as the good professor explains why this could be so devastating:

“The strength of the suit by Officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby is in its’ time tested-simplicity. Not relying on any act of Congress but merely invoking common-law principles buttressed by Washington, D.C., code provisions prohibiting incitement to riot and provocation of violence, their suit centers on claims that Trump directed, aided, and abetted the garden-variety torts of assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress,” Tribe writes. “These are the kind of tort claims pleaded every day in courts across the country, tracing their roots to the most foundational precepts of the English common law. The complaint alleges that Trump was guilty of ‘intentional, wanton, and reckless conduct,’ as he ‘spurred’ a violent crowd ‘already primed by his months of inflammatory rhetoric’ to cause grave damage and injury to property and persons, including the two Capitol Officers.”

But the real kicker here is this: Since Trump is a legal resident of Florida and the officers are likely residents of Washington, D.C., Virginia, or Maryland, this then becomes a “diversity lawsuit,” thus allowing  U.S. District Courts to decide questions of state laws because the parties are residents of different states.

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The seriousness of this was not lost on O’Donnell, who noted this legal strategy could allow the number of cases to escalate quickly.

“And this lawsuit, this same lawsuit is available to at least about 140 Capitol Police officers who were injured that day,” O’Donnell said. “They could file similar lawsuits, similar claims, some of them would be assigned different dollar values by injuries if they get to injuries. You could have a bankrupting amount of these kinds of lawsuits being filed just by Capitol Police officers alone.”

“Right,” Tribe said. “Unless some of the Capitol Police officers happen to be citizens and residents of Florida, which I very much doubt. But all of the others could file suits just like this.”

But there’s even more good news:

“And they all seek not only compensation, though they don’t glamorize it, but compensation for the harm, plus punitive damages to punish the president for what he did,” Tribe added. “And to deter future presidents. So these are very standard lawsuits and I can imagine that the emotional, as well as legal appeal of these lawsuits to a garden-variety jury, will be very large. So when you combine the lawsuits that are also strong brought by members of Congress with these suits, it’s hard to see how the president will not be held accountable.”

“And I think it is good for the future of this country,” Tribe said in conclusion.

Imagine that. Trump finally brought down by his own ignorance, vanity, and stupidity. There’s just no other way to say it.

Here’s the clip below.

meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GaiaLibra and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/politicalsaurus

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