A white nationalist accused of assaulting a protester at a Donald Trump campaign rally is insisting in a federal court action that he was following a “directive” from Trump, who ordered his audience at the time to “get ‘em out of here.”
Matthew Heimbach and another Trump supporter have been sued by plaintiffs Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau, who say they were assaulted during a Trump campaign rally in Louisville in March 2016 — some of which was captured on a video that went viral. Trump and the Trump campaign are also named in the suit, accused of incitement to riot and recklessness. Trump is heard on tape ordering the audience to “get ‘em out of here.”
Louisville U.S. District Judge David Hale ruled last month that the suit could proceed after he determined that the protesters’ injuries may have been a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s statements, that “at least implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action.”
Heimbach said in his countersuit filed Monday in Louisville that he “acted pursuant to the directives and requests” of Trump and the Trump campaign. If he’s found liable for damages “liability must be shifted to one or both of them,” the filing states.
Heimbach, a leader of the white supremacist Traditionalist Worker Party, claims he believed Trump had the legal authority to order people removed.
Another man sued in the case, veteran Alvin Bamberger of Ohio, has also turned on Trump. He said that whatever he did was at Trump’s urging. “Bamberger would not have acted as he did without Trump and/or the Trump Campaign’s specific urging and inspiration,” states his countersuit, which was filed in Louisville federal court on Friday.
Trump “repeatedly urged people attending” his rallies to “remove individuals who were voicing opposition to Trump’s candidacy,” the suit adds. He also often “promised to pay the legal fees of those who — following Trump’s urgings — removed the protesters,” according to the lawsuit.
Both men have also claimed they’re innocent of any assault.
Trump’s attorneys have denied the allegations and asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that their client is “immune” from lawsuits “because he is president.”