Trump And His Campaign Have Been Sued
It sounds as though the Donald Trump presidential campaign could produce some more legal intrigue going forward. The very same week that campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged with battery for allegedly grabbing the arm of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields (which he and the campaign denies), there's already more. On Thursday night, NBC reported that Donald Trump is being sued for allegedly inciting violence against protesters at a March 1 rally in Louisville, Kentucky. Trump's campaign has repeatedly denied these claims.
As NBC News' Phil Helsel details, the suit is being filed on behalf of three protesters, who are arguing that Trump has created an unsafe and violent atmosphere at his events, which resulted in them being shoved around by his supporters while he repeatedly yelled "get them out" from the stage. In the past, Trump has commented that "maybe [a protester] should have been roughed up," has encouraged a crowd to "knock the crap" out of anyone getting ready to throw a tomato, and has promised to pay any resulting legal bills (it seems like he's backed off on that one). Trump, for his part, has denied that he incites violence at his events, telling Meet the Press that he doesn't accept responsibility and "[does] not condone violence in any shape."
Here's how the introduction to the lawsuit reads, as NBC News' Katy Tur tweeted out Thursday evening. It follows a quote from Ronald Reagan about handling conflict by peaceful means.
Protesters from every side of the political spectrum have been a regular feature in American politics, and at American political rallies, since time immemorial. They regularly appear at public functions attended by the President of the United States, an in this campaign season, every candidate has seen his share of protesters. But one ― Donald J. Trump ― has decided to break with American tradition and the rule of law by inciting his supporters to physically attack protesters at his rallies and campaign appearances. Worse still, these attacks often carry with them the blatant stamp of racism, religious intolerance, misogyny, or any combination of the three. This is an action for incitement pursuant to Kentucky statutory law, and an action for common law assault, battery, negligence, gross negligence, and recklessness resulting from incidents facilitated, incited, encouraged, endorsed, and subsequently ratified by Defendant Trump at a campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 1st, 2016.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are named as 17-year-old Henry Brousseau, 21-year-old Kashiya Nwanguma, and 36-year-old Molly Shah. As Talking Points Memo's Allegra Kirkland notes, Nwanguma was one of the people seen being pushed around by Trump supporters in a video of the Lexington rally (embedded above) which spurred a lot of controversy. Trump has not yet publicly commented on the lawsuit, but has repeatedly denied claims that his rallies provoke violence.