Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump, others in Jan. 6 police officer death

 January 3, 2024

A federal judge in Washington dismissed a wrongful death claim on Tuesday that was part of a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and two individuals accused of assaulting U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick during the Capitol riot.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ruled that Sandra Garza, Sicknick's longtime partner, lacked standing to bring a wrongful death claim against Trump, Julian Khater, and George Tanios because she did not meet the legal definition of Sicknick's spouse and was not considered his domestic partner.

The details

Mehta stated, "[Garza's] contention that a 'domestic partnership' was established simply by Officer Sicknick having identified Garza as his 'domestic partner' in his will finds no basis in the plain text of the statute. Garza, therefore, cannot recover the damages she personally seeks under the Act."

While this claim was dismissed, Garza's civil suit, filed last year, will proceed on the remaining claim. This claim asserts that Trump, Khater, and Tanios were involved in a civil conspiracy to interfere with civil rights.

Garza is seeking $10 million in damages from each defendant.

The incident

Khater, who admitted to spraying Sicknick with a chemical irritant during the riot, pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting officers in 2022 and received an 80-month prison sentence.

Tanios, who admitted to purchasing the spray, pleaded guilty to two lesser misdemeanor counts and was sentenced to time served.

Sicknick, who died a day after the Capitol riot, was reported by a medical examiner to have suffered two strokes caused by a blood clot at the base of the brain stem.

The autopsy

The autopsy concluded that Sicknick died of natural causes, finding no evidence of an allergic reaction to chemical irritants or external or internal injuries.

The D.C. medical examiner's office determined Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died of "natural causes," specifically a series of strokes, and acknowledged that events on January 6 played a role in his condition.

Donald Trump is currently confronted with numerous legal challenges connected to his purported involvement in the Capitol riot.

In the past month, a federal appeals court turned down the former president's attempts to dismiss civil claims aiming to hold him accountable for the riot based on assertions of presidential immunity. Last month, a federal appeals court rejected his efforts to dismiss civil claims seeking accountability for the riot, arguing against presidential immunity.

The legal battles are expected to continue in the months ahead as Trump seeks a win in the primaries in his comeback bid to return to the White House if he defeats President Joe Biden in November.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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