Trump has been told he could face massive damages for the Capitol riot even if he avoids criminal charges, with one advisor reportedly telling him: 'Think OJ'
Donald Trumpwas told by an advisor to "think OJ" over the legal issues he could face over the Capitol riot last week, ABC News reported.
- The advisor was referring to OJ Simpson, the former NFL star who was found not guilty in a murder trial but was sued for millions of dollars in civil lawsuits.
- Trump had told his supporters to "fight like hell" moments before they stormed the Capitol at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
- Dozens of suspects have been arrested and charged since the attack, though the Justice Department said on Friday that it did not expect to charge Trump with inciting the riot.
President Donald Trump has been warned that he could face massive civil damages over last week's Capitol riot even if he avoids criminal charges, with one advisor telling him to "think OJ," ABC News reported.
Thousands of Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday after attending an event where Trump stirred up the audience, telling them to "fight like hell."
The mob ransacked congressional offices and fought with the Capitol Police, and four members of the mob and one police officer died as a result.
Since the riot, Trump's aides and legal counsel have tried to explain to the president that he could be in deep legal trouble for his comments.
According to ABC News, the president has been told he could face civil damages, with one advisor telling him: "Think OJ."
The advisor was referring to the case of OJ Simpson, the former NFL star who was found not guilty of murder over the killings of his ex-wife and her friend in 1994 but was later sued in civil court and had to pay $35 million in damages.
ABC News did not specify what civil liability Trump could face over his role inciting the mob before the Capitol riot.
Among those also trying to alert Trump to the implication of his words as early as Wednesday were the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows; the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone; and members of Trump's family, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post.
According to the two outlets, Trump had continually resisted aides' pleas for him to denounce the rioters but finally agreed to do so in a Thursday video after realizing he could face legal trouble.
"Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem," Trump said in the video. "To those who broke the law: You will pay."
Dozens of suspects have been arrested and charged since the attack on the Capitol, though a senior Justice Department official told reporters on Friday that officials did not expect to charge Trump or his allies with inciting a riot.
According to ABC News, Trump grew angry over his aides' warnings about his legal risk and had halted considerations of pardons for his associates.
Previous reports have examined Trump's considerations over whether to try to pardon himself or to issue preemptive pardons - for activity that has already taken place but has not been prosecuted - for his close associates including family members. He has already issued a series of pardons since his election loss.
Those pardoned are protected from current or future federal prosecution, but it does not prevent them from facing civil claims.
CNN reported Monday that Cipollone and former US Attorney General Bill Barr had told Trump in recent weeks that he should not try to pardon himself.
Shortly before Barr resigned as attorney general on December 14, he had alerted Trump to a 1974 Justice Department memo saying that any self-pardon by the president would be blocked, CNN said.
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