Within days of former President Donald Trump’s acquittal in his impeachment trial, House Democrats moved to “Plan B” in their efforts to punish him, suing him in federal court under the “Ku Klux Klan Act.”
The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP and civil rights law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, accuses Trump of conspiring with racist hate groups to plan an attack on the United States Capitol in a scheme to stop the counting of Electoral College votes.
U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson (D-MS,) Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), are joining the suit as additional plaintiffs after impeaching Trump but failing to disqualify him from running for future federal office.
“The lawsuit alleges that, by preventing Congress from carrying out its official duties, Trump, Giuliani and the hate groups directly violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act,” the NAACP states.
“The lawsuit alleges that Trump and Giuliani violated 42 U.S.C. 1985(1), often referred to as the Ku Klux Klan Act, which was passed in 1871 in response to KKK violence and intimidation preventing Members of Congress in the South during Reconstruction from carrying out their constitutional duties,” the NAACP explained. “The statute was intended specifically to protect against conspiracies.”
“January 6th was one of the most shameful days in our country’s history, and it was instigated by the President himself,” said Thompson.
“His gleeful support of violent white supremacists led to a breach of the Capitol that put my life, and that of my colleagues, in grave danger. It is by the slimmest of luck that the outcome was not deadlier,” said Thompson. “While the majority of Republicans in the Senate abdicated their responsibility to hold the President accountable, we must hold him accountable for the insurrection that he so blatantly planned. Failure to do so will only invite this type of authoritarianism for the anti-democratic forces on the far right that are so intent on destroying our country.”
While heavy on claims and innuendo, the suit offers no evidence Trump or Giuliani were aware of specific plans by the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to enter the U.S. Capitol or attack lawmakers.
“Donald J. Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers [conspired] to incite a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, with the goal of preventing Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election,” the NAACP release states.
“The insurrection was the result of a carefully orchestrated plan by Trump, Giuliani and extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, all of whom shared a common goal of employing intimidation, harassment and threats to stop the certification of the Electoral College,” the NAACP claims. “They succeeded in their plan. After witnessing Capitol police barricading the doors of the House chamber with furniture, Congressman Thompson and fellow lawmakers donned gas masks and were rushed into the Longworth House Office Building where they sheltered with more than 200 other representatives, staffers and family members.”
The lawsuit seeks payment from Trump, Giuliani, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for claimed compensatory and punitive damages, likely to claimed in millions of dollars.