President Trump's attorneys asked the judge considering a lawsuit from three protesters who allege they were assaulted at a campaign rally that the case be paused for the lawyers to appeal the ruling to a higher court "before subjecting the president to 'unique' and extraordinary burdens of litigation," according to a court filing submitted Thursday.
The defense wants an appeals court to rethink whether the then-presidential candidate calls to "get 'em out of here" and "don't hurt 'em" are protected under the First Amendment for free speech.
"[E]ven if Mr. Trump implicitly instructed the audience to remove the protesters by using force if necessary, his speech was still entirely lawful and protected under the First Amendment unless he advocated a greater degree of force than was necessary under the circumstances," Trump's lawyers wrote.
"Absent that type of unlawful advocacy, Mr. Trump cannot be held liable for incitement. It makes no difference whether the crowd reacted with unlawful violence beyond what Mr. Trump advocated."
Last week, Trump's attorneys said he was "immune" from the lawsuit because he is president.
Three protesters from a Louisville rally last March alleged they were assaulted by Trump supporters after Trump yelled for them to leave. The suing party is seeking damages from the two people who they say hurt them, as well as Trump's campaign and the president himself.
Trump's lawyers had requested a jury trial in the Louisville suit. A federal judge rejected the defense's argument last month that free speech rights protected Trump from any comments he made.
The same judge also refused to throw out the case based on the defense that the attendees assumed risk by attending.
"The doctrine of assumption of the risk was abolished in Kentucky decades ago," the judge concluded.