A federal judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit against Donald Trump brought by the partner of Capitol Police officer Brian Siknik, who died a day after being attacked by rioters during the January 6, 2021 riot.
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled Tuesday that Sicknick's partner, Sandra Garza, lacked “legal standing” to file a lawsuit against Trump because she was not his spouse or domestic partner under Washington, D.C. law. .
“[Garza’s] “The claim that a “domestic partnership” was merely established by Officer Sicknick, who had identified Garza as his “domestic partner” in his will, finds no basis in the plain text of the statute,” Mr. Mehta wrote. “Garza therefore cannot recover the damages she personally seeks under the statute.”
But the judge allowed other parts of the two-count lawsuit in his split ruling, including an allegation that the former president and two men, Julian Khater and George Tanios, accused of assaulting the police officer, were involved in a conspiracy to “violate politically rights”.
The judge also dismissed the wrongful death claim in the lawsuit against the two men.
But he rejected Mr. Trump's claim of immunity in that case, pointing out that the D.C. Court of Appeals had previously ruled that he does not have presidential immunity related to lawsuits related to his actions during the riots.
A lawyer for Ms. Garza said they were pleased with the decision and were considering next steps.
“We are pleased to see that our lawsuit seeking justice for the late Capitol Police Officer Brian Siknik, who died in the aftermath of the January 6th riot, has been allowed to proceed. We are now looking at our next step options, which includes impeaching former President Trump,” said Mark S. Zeid, one of the lawyers.
Ms. Garza filed a lawsuit against Trump and two others, seeking $10 million in damages from each defendant.
The police officer's partner, who earlier said they both voted for Mr Trump in the election, said she “holds Donald Trump 100 per cent responsible for what happened on January 6 and all the people who allowed him, she allowed him a day and continue to enable it now.”
After Sicknick's death, a medical examiner said the officer, who died a day after the riots, had suffered two strokes caused by a blood clot at the base of the brain stem.
An autopsy said she died of natural causes and found no evidence that she suffered any reaction to the sprays used by the two rioters named in the lawsuit.
Khater admitted to spraying Sicknick with a chemical irritant and pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting the officer. He was sentenced to 80 months in prison.
Tanios admitted to buying the spray and pleaded guilty to two lesser misdemeanors and was sentenced to time served.
In his judgment, Mr. Mehta said he did not need to determine whether Ms. Garza had sufficiently alleged that Khater caused Officer Sicknick's death. That's because “at a minimum, Officer Sicknick's estate may recover for any pain and suffering he experienced prior to his death, and the complaint sufficiently alleges that Khater's actions caused such harm,” he said.
Ms. Garza, however, disagreed with anyone who claimed that the officer's death was unrelated to the tragic events that unfolded almost exactly a year ago in the nation's capital.
“Brian was running from one end of the Capitol to the other end of the Capitol. He was straining himself. And they attacked him,” she said in an interview last year with PBS. “All these factors combined, and being very stressed, produce a lot of adrenaline and cortisol in the body… [he was] worrying about his colleagues as well as himself.”