Assessment of the Capitol storm "Specific intent to incite political violence": US judge finds clear words for Trump

Donald Trump has won a trial in Colorado – but the verdict is likely to have a bitter aftertaste for him. A judge accuses him of inciting violence before storming the US Capitol.

Former US President Donald Trump has won a legal victory heading into the 2024 elections However, the verdict is a clear condemnation of his actions. With a view to the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, Judge Sarah Wallace writes in her decision: “The Court concludes that Trump acted with the specific intent of inciting political violence and directing it against the Capitol in order to… “To disrupt the confirmation of the election results.” With his speech at the time, the Republican called for “immediate lawless violence.” His words and behavior were the “actual cause” of the storming of the Capitol.

Why did Trump win the trial despite these clear words? The background is that various plaintiffs in various US states are trying to remove Trump’s name from ballot papers for the 2024 presidential election. They argue with a constitutional amendment that excludes people from elections who have incited an “insurrection” against the constitution. They have already failed in the states of Michigan and Minnesota now also in Colorado on Friday evening. Judge Wallace concluded that the clause did not explicitly refer to the office of president and Trump is therefore allowed to remain on the ballot for the Republican primaries in the state.

Legal victory for Donald Trump – with a bitter aftertaste

Trump supporters stormed the parliament building in Washington on January 6, 2021. Congress met there to formally confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Trump had previously incited his supporters during a speech. As a result of the riots, five people died. Trump, who wants to return to the White House after the 2024 election, is, among other things, charged at the federal level with attempted election fraud. The 77-year-old is accused, among other things, of conspiring against the United States.

The ruling from Colorado is not binding for the trial that is scheduled to take place in Washington next year. Nor was it a criminal case. However, it is still significant that a judge comes to such a clear condemnation of Trump’s behavior in view of the events on January 6, 2021. And in her ruling, Wallace also rejects the ex-president’s defense that his speech was merely a matter of free expression of opinion. Trump’s lawyers also argue this in the federal proceedings.