Four Mexican immigrants have managed to get their lawsuit against former US President Donald Trump to trial. A judge in New York could begin selecting jurors next month, according to the Bronx Supreme Court calendar, for the case of Mexicans who clashed with Trump security agents during a protest in Manhattan in 2015. Trump himself had to answer hours of questions from the Mexicans’ attorney, Ben Dictor, in October at his Trump Tower office in Manhattan. Although the former president will not testify in the trial, a video with his answers will be broadcast during the judicial process for the jury to see. The immigrants filed the lawsuit after at least one of them, Efraín Galicia, was slapped in the face by then-Trump security chief Keith Schiller during a protest outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. The scene was captured by local television stations. At that time, many members of the Hispanic community were showing their discomfort after Trump’s comments in his electoral campaign about the fact that among Mexican immigrants there were rapists and criminals who brought drugs to the United States.
Seven years after the lawsuit was filed, Dictor hopes that his clients will be victorious since he assures that they had every right to protest. “These are individuals of Mexican origin who were protesting after Trump’s statements describing Mexicans as rapists and murderers and they are in this country under the belief that one has the right to protest in the street, to freely participate in protests for political issues. and that one can do it without having to suffer violence or intimidation at the hands of people who disagree with you, ”said the lawyer. Galicia stood with others outside Trump’s offices with signs bearing slogans such as “Trump: Make America Racist Again,” as a parody of Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” In images transmitted by several media outlets, Schiller is seen grabbing one of the Galician posters and carrying it towards the entrance of the building. When the Mexican yells at him to give it back and goes after him, Schiller slaps him. Galicia then falls to the ground, near another security guard with whom he struggles. Another of the participants in the protest was disguised as a member of the Ku Klux Klan because at that time the leader of that sect, David Duke, had announced his support for Trump as a Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States.
In addition to Galicia, the plaintiffs are Miguel Villalobos, Florencia Tejeda Pérez, and Norberto García, the father of another plaintiff who died in Mexico. Trump won the presidency in 2017 and remained in the White House until 2021. In 2018, a judge denied Trump’s lawyers’ request to rule on the issue without going to trial. The judge noted that Trump’s harsh language publicly used against protesters “authorizes and condones” the conduct of his security guards. There are six defendants: Trump himself, Schiller, two other security guards, the Trump Organization, and the Trump election campaign. The case has been delayed for various reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the death of one of the plaintiffs, which caused his lawsuit to be transferred to his father, Norberto Garcia. Dictor explained that both parties – Trump and the plaintiffs – carried out negotiations this year but they did not produce results. Following his session with Dictor, Trump issued a statement in October in which he said the case should have been dismissed because the only fault lies with the protesters.
“Instead of peacefully protesting, plaintiffs intentionally attempted to stir up the crowd by blocking the entrance to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight wearing Klu Klux Klan capes. Unfortunately, when security agents attempted to take control of the situation, they were met with threatening gestures and violence from the plaintiffs themselves,” Trump said. “After years of litigation, I feel good having had the opportunity to tell my version of this ridiculous story,” added the former president. Attorneys for Trump did not respond to messages from The Associated Press about the case. Dictor said the trial could last a week as each plaintiff will testify, plus Schiller and the other security guards.