judge dismisses counts in lawsuit against trump rioters over death of capitol police officer

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A federal judge dismissed two out of five counts in a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and two other men over the death of a Capitol Police officer during the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

In a split decision on Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta dismissed the wrongful death and negligence civil counts of the lawsuit filed last January by Sandra Garza, the longtime partner of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.

The judge decided that Garza, who was Sicknick’s fiancée, lacked the standing to file such claims since she wasn’t his spouse and didn’t fit the legal definition of a domestic partner, NBC News reported.

Sicknick died shortly after the 2021 Capitol riot, where he had collapsed while defending the Capitol building and was transported to the hospital. A medical examiner confirmed that he died of natural causes after having multiple strokes.

According to the Department of Justice, video footage from the riot showed two rioters, Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios, assaulting police officers including Sicknick by spraying a substance in their faces.

The two men were arrested and charged with assaulting U.S. Capitol officers, among other charges, though neither of them were charged with Sicknick’s death, CBS News reported.

Khater, who admitted to spraying Sicknick, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than six years in prison. Tanios admitted to purchasing the substance in the spray and pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and was also sentenced to serve time.

In her lawsuit last year, Garza alleged wrongful death, conspiracy to violate civil rights and assault, among other claims against Trump, Khater and Tanios, and sought at least $10 million in damages from them.

While the wrongful death and civil negligence counts have been dismissed, the judge has allowed Garza’s other claims against Trump to proceed under D.C.’s Survival Act, which allows an individual’s legal representative to pursue legal action on behalf of them after their death. (Garza is the representative of Sicknick’s estate).

“We are pleased to see that our lawsuit in pursuit of justice for the late Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection, has been permitted to continue. We are now considering our next step options, to include deposing former President Trump,” Mark Zaid, an attorney for Garza, said in a statement on Thursday, according to CBS News.

Trump is currently facing a criminal case regarding his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 riot and his attempt to remain in power after his 2020 election loss. The former president has pushed back on the case, arguing that he had “presidential immunity” that protects him from being criminally prosecuted for his actions.

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