A trial began on Monday in Colorado to determine whether former President Donald Trump should be disqualified from running for office in 2024 due to his role in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The lawsuit, filed by a watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), argues that Trump violated a provision of the 14th Amendment that bars anyone who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the U.S. government from holding public office.
The plaintiffs claim that Trump incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, which they say constitutes an act of insurrection. They also allege that Trump gave aid and comfort to the enemies of the U.S. by undermining democracy and endangering national security.
The defendants, who include Trump and the Colorado Secretary of State, contend that the lawsuit is politically motivated and legally flawed. They argue that the 14th Amendment provision has never been applied to a former president, and that it requires a conviction by Congress or a court before it can take effect. They also assert that Trump’s speech on January 6 was protected by the First Amendment, and that he did not intend to incite violence.
The trial, which is expected to last for two weeks, is being presided over by Denver District Court Judge Christopher Baumann. It is the first of two cases that will test the 14th Amendment provision in relation to Trump’s actions on January 6. A similar lawsuit has been filed in Minnesota, where a hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
The outcome of the lawsuits could have significant implications for the 2024 presidential race, as Trump has hinted at running again and remains popular among his base. However, the cases are likely to face appeals and legal challenges, and may ultimately end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.