A Pennsylvania judge sided with Donald Trump on Monday, finding that statements Trump made regarding the 2020 election while still in office are protected by presidential immunity.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Erdos said Trump’s immunity covered a tweet he issued and comments he made remotely from the White House during a Pennsylvania state Senate committee hearing in November 2020.
James Savage, a Pennsylvania voting machine supervisor in the 2020 election, filed lawsuits alleging Trump, Rudy Giuliani, two poll watchers and others conspired to defame him.
“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.”
“Here, then-President Trump’s Gettysburg remarks and his tweet were public,” Erdos wrote. “Moreover, the topic of these statements—claims from third parties and the President himself about irregularities in the Presidential election which on their face called into question the integrity of the election and whether now-President Joseph Biden had been duly elected—was undoubtedly a matter of great public concern.”
Trump praised the Monday ruling.
“We are pleased with the Court’s decision to honor the long-standing principle of Presidential Immunity,” Trump legal spokeswoman Alina Habba said in a statement.
“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,” Habba continued. “We expect that the rest of Mr. Savage’s claims will similarly be disposed of as they are without merit.”