Judge Orders Trump To Give Deposition In Immigration Activists' Suit

Protesters of Mexican descent accused the then-candidate and his security team of assaulting them during a 2015 rally against his anti-immigrant rhetoric.

A New York judge has ordered former President Donald Trump to give a videotaped deposition next week in a lawsuit by a group of protesters who allege that Trump and his security team assaulted them during a 2015 rally against his hateful rhetoric about Mexican immigrants.

The order by Bronx state Supreme Court judge Doris Gonzalez, which ABC News first reported Thursday, says that Trump must appear for a deposition on Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. Eastern, “or, in the event of illness or emergency, on another mutually agreed to date on or before” Oct. 31. The former president is expected to record the deposition on Monday in New York City’s Trump Tower, according to court papers.

The lawsuit by several protesters of Mexican descent names Trump, the Trump Organization, his former head of security Keith Schiller and four unnamed members of Trump’s then-security team. Schiller became director of Oval Office operations under Trump in 2017, and later that year, the Republican National Committee hired him as an adviser on security for the 2020 convention.

The lawsuit stems from a Sept. 3, 2015, protest outside Trump Tower over the then-presidential candidate’s inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants. Trump repeatedly blamed undocumented immigrants for the United States’ problems and called people crossing the border from Mexico criminals and rapists. The xenophobic rhetoric during his campaign only intensified when he became president.

Signs expressing solidarity with immigrant workers on Sept. 16, 2015, during a protest against Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Signs expressing solidarity with immigrant workers on Sept. 16, 2015, during a protest against Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Mark Apollo/Pacific Press via Getty Images

Schiller and the four security guards attacked peaceful protesters, according to the lawsuit. Guards allegedly told protesters that the sidewalk was private property (it is not) and pushed them away while taking their protest signs. Video evidence shows Schiller aggressively taking away protest signs from plaintiff Efrain Galicia and striking him in the head when Galicia tried to retrieve his sign.

Trump tried to evade a subpoena ordering him to testify in the case in 2018, arguing that there must be “exceptional circumstances” to depose a high-ranking government official. Gonzalez denied the motion in 2019, saying that Trump’s argument did not apply because he was being called to answer for conduct that happened before he was in office.

A judicial order eventually allowed the then-president to avoid having to testify in person while serving in the White House, according to CNBC. In July, with Trump out of office, Gonzalez ordered him to sit for the deposition that would be scheduled at a later date. The parties first agreed that he would be deposed in September, but moved the date to Monday due to Trump’s availability.

“After defendants spent years unsuccessfully fighting to keep Donald Trump from testifying under oath, we will be taking his testimony in this case on Monday,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer Benjamin Dictor said on Thursday. “We look forward to presenting this case, including Mr. Trump’s video testimony, to the jury at his trial.”