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Pennsylvania judge rules Trump covered by presidential immunity

A Pennsylvania state judge ruled this week that an election worker cannot sue former President Donald J. Trump over statements he made about the 2020 election results while in office. Those statements are protected by presidential immunity, the judge said.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Erdos said Trump was immune for a social media post he issued and comments he made during a Pennsylvania state Senate committee hearing in November 2020. The statements claimed fraud in Pennsylvania’s election tabulations.

“Other legal proceedings may examine the propriety of his statements and actions while he was the president and whether, as the plaintiffs in this and other cases contend, it was this conduct which served as the actual threat to our democracy,” Erdos ruled. “But this case is not the proper place to do so. Here, Trump is entitled to presidential immunity.”

A Pennsylvania voting machine supervisor in the 2020 election had filed two lawsuits alleging that Trump, Rudy Giuliani and others conspired to defame him. 

Erdos ruled Trump has immunity for the tweet and the remarks at the state Senate hearing because both statements were made while he was serving as president.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to honor the longstanding principle of presidential immunity,” Trump legal spokeswoman Alina Habba said.

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