A judge said on Monday that a Pennsylvania voting machine supervisor cannot sue Donald Trump over statements he made while president that questioned the state’s 2020 election results, ruling that the comments are protected by presidential immunity, The Hill reported.
Philadelphia County Common Pleas Judge Michael Erdos said the former president’s immunity extended to a tweet he posted and comments he made from the White House while appearing remotely at a state Senate committee hearing in November 2020 in which he made unsubstantiated claims about Pennsylvania’s election counting.
Judge Erdos conceded that the propriety of Trump’s false statement could be examined in other legal proceedings, but said this particular case “is not the proper place to do it.” He said as it relates to the lawsuit, “Trump is entitled to Presidential immunity.”
In November 2021, Pennsylvania voting machine warehouse supervisor James Savage filed two separate lawsuits that have since been consolidated alleging that Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and two poll watchers conspired to defame him, which prompted death threats and caused him to suffer two heart attacks.
While Erdos ruled that Trump’s 2020 comments are protected by presidential immunity, the claims Trump made in a subsequent letter to the January 6 select committee in October 2022, also cited in the lawsuit, are not covered by presidential immunity since the claims in the letter were made long after Trump left office.
In a statement after the ruling, Trump spokeswoman Alina Habba applauded the judge’s decision, saying it honored “the long-standing principle of Presidential Immunity.”
Habba said the judge was clear that it was within Trump’s discretion as president to address election integrity “without fear of liability.” She said Trump’s legal team expects the judge to rule that the rest of Savage’s lawsuit is also “without merit.”