Judge dismisses most counts against Trump over death of Jan 6 officer, Brian Sicknick

A victory for former President Donald Trump came with a judge’s ruling on liability for the death of a United States Capitol Police officer.

Along with the narrative that the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol breach was an insurrection, corporate media had long held to the claim that supposed incitement from Trump had directly resulted in the death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta knocked down that claim as he dismissed three of five civil counts brought against the president and two J6ers.

Nearly a year after Sandra Garza, Sicknick’s longtime girlfriend and the executor of his will, had filed suit against Trump, as well as protesters Julian Khater and George Tanios, Mehta issued a 12-page ruling dismissing both negligence per se allegations along with the wrongful death act count against the defendants as she did not meet the legal standard of a “domestic partner.”

The two remaining counts allowed for Garza to “proceed as to her Survival Act claim” with allegations that the defendants had committed “conspiracy to violate civil rights.”

On Jan. 6, 2023, marking the two-year anniversary of the Capitol breach, Garza had filed her suit against Trump, Khater and Tanios claiming they were “directly and vicariously liable” for Sicknick’s death.

“As a direct result of the attack by Defendants Khater and Tanios and others — which Defendant Trump instigated — Officer Sicknick suffered physical injuries,” the lawsuit had charged. “The following day, on January 7, 2021, Officer Sicknick tragically died.”

However, it was known even then that a coroner had ruled Sicknick’s cause of death was “natural” having suffered two strokes the day after the events on Capitol Hill, which included his getting doused with bear spray. Khater had pled guilty to spraying Sicknick after obtaining the chemical from Tanios.

As a result, Khater was sentenced to 80 months in prison and Tanios, who had pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts, was sentenced to time served and a year of supervised release.

“We are pleased to see that our lawsuit in pursuit of justice for the late Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection, has been permitted to continue,” said Mark Zaid, an attorney for Garza, in a statement to the media. “We are now considering our next step options, to include deposing former President Trump.”

Meanwhile, as the former president has sought to claim immunity in other legal challenges that have been brought against him related to Jan. 6, Mehta wrote in his ruling, “The court first addresses, and quickly disposes of, former President Trump’s assertion of immunity from suit,” adding, “Based on Plaintiff’s pleading, absolute immunity does not bar suit against President Trump.”

At the time of this post, Trump had not released a statement reacting to the ruling from Mehta.

Kevin Haggerty

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