A state Supreme Court judge said on Friday that President Donald Trump is obligated to sit for a deposition in a New York lawsuit against him and the Trump Organization. The lawsuit was imposed over violent encounters between Trump’s employees and a group of Mexican protesters in 2015.
According to the Newsweek, Trump’s lawyers had sought to quash a subpoena for the President’s testimony related to an incident that occurred in the weeks following the launch of his presidential campaign. Protesters had gathered outside Trump Tower in Manhattan over multiple weekends after then-candidate Trump descended the golden escalators in June of 2015 to begin his campaign.
Enraged by his derogatory comments about Latino people, the protesters held signs that read, for example, “TRUMP: MAKE AMERICA RACIST AGAIN.”
During their third such demonstration, the lawsuit alleges, Keith Schiller, Trump’s director of security, confiscated some of the protest signs and assaulted a demonstrator who tried to retrieve them.
“After being attacked by Schiller in front of so many witnesses and television cameras, I am afraid that Trump’s security guards will continue to use violence to prevent us from demonstrating on the public sidewalk,” the protester, Efrain Galicia, alleged in the civil complaint. “I am very concerned for my safety and the safety of my friends and fellow activists.”
In her ruling on Friday, New York state Supreme Court Justice Doris M. Gonzalez appealed to concerns about the President’s documented attempts to escape judicial oversight.
“More than 200 years ago our founders sought to escape an oppressive, tyrannical governance in which absolute power vested with a monarch. A fear of the recurrence of tyranny birthed our three-branch government adorned with checks and balance,” she wrote. “Put more plainly, no government official, including the Executive, is above the law.”
The Trump Tower protests were widely documented at the time, and several demonstrators came dressed in white robes with pointed hoods, a nod to the Ku Klux Klan’s preferred garb. As long as protests aren’t abusive of public safety, they are generally protected by the First Amendment.