Donald Trump has secured a partial win in a Pennsylvania court case that could protect him from a lawsuit over his false claims of election fraud.
Judge Michael Erdos of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas ruled on Monday that presidential immunity is broad enough to protect Trump from claims of defamation tied to his false statements about the 2020 election.
In his 16-page ruling, Judge Erdos stated that “even if (Trump) actually believed that he had fairly lost,” his statements were still within the boundaries of his official responsibility as the President.
The ruling determined that Trump was immune from two of three defamation claims, asserting that any statements made by the former President while in office are protected by presidential immunity. That claim was brought up in a lawsuit from James Savage, a voting-machine supervisor, who alleged that Trump’s false claims of voter fraud caused him substantial harm.
The third defamation claim against Trump did survive the motion to dismiss the case. This claim involves a statement he made after leaving office in a public letter to House lawmakers looking into the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Alina Habba, a legal spokeswoman for Trump, has welcomed the judge’s ruling. “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,” she said. “We expect that the rest of Mr. Savage’s claims will similarly be disposed of as they are without merit.”
The judge’s ruling comes the same day that Trump posted on his social media site, Truth Social, that he “assumes” he’ll be indicted in the coming days over his campaign to overturn the election and the resulting Capitol attack.
However, the partial cabinet victory in the Savage case may give Trump a bit of relief, as it suggests that any immunity won in the case could be broad enough to protect him from any other false statement claims filed against him.
Whether or not this ruling immediately affects the former President’s standing in other pending lawsuits remains to be seen, but for now, there seems to be some relief in the Trump camp over the partial victory.