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Pennsylvania State Judge Rules in Favor of Trump's Presidential Immunity in 2020 Election Case

Impact on Jan 6th Indictment and Prosecution for Lying About the Election

In a significant development, a Pennsylvania state judge has ruled that former President Donald Trump cannot be sued over statements he made sowing doubt in the 2020 election results while in office, citing the protection of presidential immunity. The ruling could have implications for the Jan 6th Indictment against Trump, seeking to prosecute him for allegedly lying about the election while he was President of the United States.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Erdos stated that Trump's immunity covered both a tweet he issued and comments he made remotely from the White House during a Pennsylvania state Senate committee hearing in November 2020. These statements, made without evidence, had claimed fraud in Pennsylvania's election tabulations.

"While other legal proceedings may examine the propriety of his statements and actions while he was the President and whether they posed a threat to our democracy, this case is not the proper place to do so. Here, Trump is entitled to Presidential immunity," Judge Erdos ruled.

The lawsuit, filed by James Savage, a Pennsylvania voting machine supervisor during the 2020 election, alleged that Trump, along with Rudy Giuliani, two poll watchers, and others, conspired to defame him. Savage claims that their statements led to death threats and two heart attacks.

Judge Erdos asserted that Trump has immunity for the tweet and remarks made during the state Senate hearing since they were part of his official duties as President. However, he also ruled that the lawsuit included claims over a letter Trump wrote to the House Jan. 6 committee last October, for which Trump is not immune, as it was written after leaving office.

The impact of this ruling on the Jan 6th Indictment is that Trump's statements made during his presidency regarding election irregularities and fraud will be protected by presidential immunity. Nevertheless, the indictment's focus on post-presidential actions, such as the letter to the Jan. 6 committee, may still proceed.

"Here, then-President Trump’s Gettysburg remarks and his tweet were public... the topic of these statements... was undoubtedly a matter of great public concern," Judge Erdos wrote, underscoring the relevance and importance of the issues discussed during Trump's tenure.

Trump's legal team expressed satisfaction with the ruling, viewing it as an affirmation of the President's discretion to address election integrity without facing liability. "Today, the Court made it clear that it is well within the President's discretion to address the integrity of our election without fear of liability," stated Trump's legal representative, emphasizing their expectations that the rest of Mr. Savage's claims would be similarly disposed of as they are deemed without merit.

As this legal battle continues, the ruling on presidential immunity in this Pennsylvania case may set a precedent that could influence other ongoing investigations and lawsuits surrounding the Jan 6th Capitol riot and Trump's statements about the 2020 election. Legal experts and political analysts will closely watch how this development shapes the trajectory of the indictment against Trump seeking to prosecute him for allegedly lying about the election during his presidency.

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