A federal judge said that Donald Trump doesn’t have “absolute immunity” as the former president’s legal team claimed in response to a civil lawsuit over Trump’s role in the efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election.

In November 2020, the NAACP and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization sued Trump for disenfranchising black voters by acting to delay the certification of the election results and pressuring election officials in Michigan and other states.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the former president can’t be held liable in civil lawsuits because of immunity around the presidency.

On Monday, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the D.C. District Court disagreed. He said that the actions described by the civil rights group, if confirmed, are not related to the presidency’s duty in defense of the Constitution.

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“If Former President Trump disrupted the certification of the electoral vote count, as Plaintiffs allege here, such actions would not constitute executive action in defense of the Constitution,” Sullivan wrote. “For these reasons, the Court concludes that Former President Trump is not immune from monetary damages in this suit.”

The decision means that the civil rights groups are allowed to proceed with the lawsuit. Sullivan has not yet ruled if Trump is liable for the charges made by the groups, even though he severely criticized the former president for his actions in the 2020 and in the 2022 elections.

“President Trump continues to spread false claims about the 2022 elections and continues to attempt to pressure officials into nullifying the election results,” Sullivan wrote.

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