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President Donald Trump has been warned that he could face massive civil damages over last week’s Capitol riot even if he avoids criminal charges, with one advisor telling him to “think OJ,” ABC News reported.
Thousands of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol around 2 p.m. last Wednesday after attending an event where Trump stirred up the audience, telling them to “fight like hell.”
The mob ransacked congressional offices and fought with the Capitol Police, and four protesters and one officer died as a result.
Since the riot, Trump’s aides and legal counsel have tried to explain to the president that he could be in deep legal trouble for his comments.
According to ABC News, the president has been told that he could face civil damages, with one advisor telling him: “Think OJ.”
The advisor was referring to the case of OJ Simpson, the former NFL star who was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife and her friend in 1994, but who was later sued in civil court and had to pay $35 million in damages.
ABC News did not specify what civil liability Trump could face over his role in inciting the mob before Capitol riot.
Among those also trying to alert Trump to the implication of his words as early as Wednesday were White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and members of Trump’s family, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post.
According to the two outlets, Trump had continually resisted aides’ pleas for him to denounce the rioters, but finally agreed to do so in a Thursday video afte realizing he could face legal trouble.
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem,” Trump said in the video. “To those who broke the law: You will pay.”
Dozens of rioters have been arrested and charged since the attack on the Capitol, though a senior Justice Department official told reporters on Friday that officials do not expect to charge Trump or his allies for inciting a riot.
Read more: If this is what Wall Street calls taking a stand against insurrection, we’re in trouble
According to ABC News, Trump had grown angry over his aides’ warnings of his potential legal charges for the Capitol riot, and that his considerations for a pardon for him and his associates had been put “on hold.”
Previous reports have detailed how Trump is considering a pardon for himself, his close associates, and for his family members. He has already issued a series of pardons since his election loss.
Those pardoned are protected from current or future federal prosecution, but it does not prevent them from facing civil claims.
Cipollone and former US Attorney General Bill Barr have told Trump in recent weeks that he should not pardon himself, CNN reported Monday.
Shortly before Barr resigned on December 14, he had alerted Trump to a 1974 Justice Department memo that says any self-pardon by the president would be blocked, CNN …read more
Source:: Business Insider