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Indian Am judge strikes a blow to Trump in Capitol riot lawsuits

Federal judge Amit Mehta ruled Friday that lawsuits that seek to hold President Donald Trump accountable or the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol in 2021 may move forward.

The Insider reports that in his 112-page ruling, Mehta cited several statements made by Trump in which he used the term “we” implying the protesters and the President were acting toward a common goal.

The judge mentioned statements by Trump such as “We will not take it anymore,” “We will stop the steal,” and “We will never concede” as “the essence of a civil conspiracy.”

“The President’s actions here do not relate to his duties of faithfully executing the laws, conducting foreign affairs, commanding the armed forces, or managing the Executive Branch,” Mehta wrote, according to CNN. “They entirely concern his efforts to remain in office for a second term. These are unofficial acts, so the separation-of-powers concerns that justify the President’s broad immunity are not present here.”

CNBC reports that Mehta did grant requests from Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr. to dismiss them from the case. He denied similar requests from the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers, as well as by Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist militia group.

Two Capitol police officers and 11 members of Congress filed the lawsuits.

“Everyone should be held accountable for their actions. Hopefully, a jury will see all of the evidence and make the appropriate determination,” said one of those police officers, James Blassingame.

The American Bazaar reports that Judge Mehta moved to the United States with his family when he was just one year old. He was born in Patan, in northern Gujarat, India.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in Chancellorsville.

He’s served in private practice and as a public defender in the District of Columbia. President Obama nominated him to the US District Judge for the District of Columbia in 2014. Last year, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Mehta to the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

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