A Colorado judge on Friday allowed former US president Donald Trump to remain on the ballot in the state’s election next year, but found that he “engaged in insurrection” by sparking the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.
Colorado District Court Judge Sarah Wallace’s ruling, which is almost certain to be appealed, rejects a bid by a group of Colorado voters to disqualify Trump under a rarely used amendment to the US Constitution that bars officials who have engaged in “insurrection” from holding federal office.
The judge found that, as president, Trump was not “an officer of the United States” that could be disqualified under the amendment.
The decision is a victory for Trump, who is fighting a series of similar challenges to his candidacy.
A Trump spokesperson on Friday said the ruling was “another nail in the coffin of the un-American ballot challenges.”
“The American voter has a Constitutional right to vote for the candidate of their choosing, with president Donald J. Trump leading by massive numbers,” spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement.
Still, the judge concluded that Trump’s “conduct and words were the factual cause of and a substantial contributing factor” to the attack on the Capitol. She found that Trump “engaged in an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021 through incitement.”
The Colorado case, which was brought by a group of voters aided by the watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, was the first to go to trial and was viewed as a test case for the wider disqualification effort.
Group president Noah Bookbinder said the organization would appeal the ruling.
“The court’s decision affirms what our clients alleged in this lawsuit: that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection based on his role in Jan. 6th,” Bookbinder said in a statement.
Lawyers for the voters argued that Trump engaged in an insurrection by spreading false claims of widespread voter fraud following his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, summoning supporters to a rally in Washington and then urging them to march to the US Capitol, where the US Congress was meeting to certify the election results.
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