A Colorado judge Friday denied a motion by Donald Trump and the Colorado GOP to throw out a lawsuit seeking to block Trump from appearing on the ballot in Colorado.
The ruling was issued by Judge Sarah Wallace, a Colorado district court judge.
Wallace was appointed to the bench earlier this year by Democrat Gov. Jared Polis.
Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, faces challenges to appear on the ballot in multiple states based on his alleged role in events of January 6, 2021. Those lawsuits cite the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in the aftermath of the Civil War, which bans those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office.
Trump has not been convicted of insurrection and was acquitted by the U.S. Senate of charges of engaging in insurrection.
He continues to deny wrongdoing.
In denying Trump and the Colorado GOP’s motions, the Colorado court did not rule on the merits of the case. Trump still has one additional motion pending to throw out the case.
If that motion fails, the trial is expected to begin October 30 with Wallace presiding.
Trump’s motion made the case that his actions on January 6 were on “public issues” and therefore protected by free speech rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution. In her opinion, Wallace said that a Colorado free speech law did not in this case.
A Trump campaign spokesperson pushed back on Wallace for allowing the case to proceed.
“[Wallace] is going against the clear weight of legal authority. We are confident the rule of law will prevail, and this decision will be reversed – whether at the Colorado Supreme Court, or at the U.S. Supreme Court.
“To keep the leading candidate for President of the United States off the ballot is simply wrong and un-American.”
The Supreme Court has never before ruled on the Civil War-era amendment, which Trump’s attorney argue was intended to apply to those waging war on the U.S.
If the lawsuit ultimately prevails, Trump could be kept off the ballot in additional states despite being the heavy favorite to win the Republican nomination and leading President Joe Biden in recent polling.
The case against Trump was brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog nonprofit group tied to Democrat strategist David Brock. Although claiming to be bipartisan, CREW has received criticism for its “partisan vendetta against conservatives and Republicans.”
Brock’s network of organizations including Democratic-aligned opposition research Super PAC American Bridge 21st Century and media criticism organization Media Matters for America (MMfA), a liberal group called an “arm of the  Hillary Clinton campaign” which achieved notoriety for continuing to defend actor Jessie Smollett’s 2019 claims of falling victim to a hate crime after evidence appeared undermining his story.
MMfA labeled the skepticism of Smollett’s story a “right wing smear” and only updated its website after Smollett was arrested with filing a false police report.
The case is Anderson v. Griswold, Case No.: 2023CV32577, in district court for the city and county of Denver.