Former President Donald Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were sued in federal court by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) over the January 6 Capitol riot. Thompson is suing Trump, Giuliani, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers in his personal capacity, accusing the defendants of conspiracy to incite the riot and violating the Ku Klux Klan Act. The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP, claims Thompson was hindered and impeded in performing his Congressional duties and suffered emotional duress. Thompson is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
Happy Inauguration Day! 🇺🇸
Trump is gone, Hallelujah! pic.twitter.com/vfDRh8BOHS
— Bennie G. Thompson (@BennieGThompson) January 20, 2021
The suit comes three days after Trump was acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial over the riot. Thompson cites a Senate floor speech by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) right after the trial blaming Trump for the riot even though he voted to acquit him.
The 32 page lawsuit can be read at this link.
1. On and before January 6, 2021, the Defendants Donald J. Trump, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers conspired to incite an assembled crowd to march upon and enter the Capitol of the United States for the common purpose of disrupting, by the use of force, intimidation and threat, the approval by Congress of the count of votes cast by members of the Electoral College as required by Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution. In doing so, the Defendants each intended to prevent, and ultimately delayed, members of Congress from discharging their duty commanded by the United States Constitution to approve the results of the Electoral College in order to elect the next President and Vice President of the United States.
2. Plaintiff, the Honorable Bennie G. Thompson, Member of the United States House of Representatives, brings this action against the Defendants for conspiring to prevent him and other Members of Congress from discharging these official duties, in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1985(1). Enacted as the “Ku Klux Klan Act” in 1871, Section 1985(1) was intended to protect against conspiracies, through violence and intimidation, that sought to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties. The statute was enacted in response to violence and intimidation in which the Ku Klux Klan and other organizations were engaged during that time period.
3. The Defendants conspired to prevent, by force, intimidation and threats, the Plaintiff, as a Member of Congress, from discharging his official duties to approve the count of votes cast by members of the Electoral College following the presidential election held in
4. In furtherance of this common goal of preventing the timely approval of the Electoral College vote count, the Defendants acted in concert to incite and then carry out a riot at the Capitol by promoting an assembly of persons to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct or the threat of it that created grave danger of harm to the Plaintiff and to other Members of Congress.
…132. Minutes after voting to acquit Defendant Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave a speech on the floor of the Senate. Senator McConnell began by acknowledging Defendant Trump’s culpability: “There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And their having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated President kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.” However, like the other Senators who voted to acquit Defendant Trump, Senator McConnell did not believe that the impeachment process was constitutional. Senator McConnell went on to state that “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office, as an ordinary citizen, unless the statute of limitations has run, still liable for everything he did while in office, didn’t get away with anything yet – yet. We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”
Violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act:
133. Plaintiff incorporates herein by reference the allegations contained in all preceding paragraphs.
134. Under the Ku Klux Klan Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(1), Defendants may not “conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person … holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States … from discharging any duties thereof; or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave any … place where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or … to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties.”
135. Defendants Trump, Giuliani, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers plotted, coordinated, and executed a common plan to prevent Congress from discharging its official duties in certifying the results of the presidential election.
136. In furtherance of this conspiracy, Defendants Trump and Giuliani engaged in a concerted campaign to misinform their supporters and the public, encouraging and promoting intimidation and violence in furtherance of their common plan to promote the re-election of Defendant Trump, even after the states had certified election results decisively showing he lost the election, and to disrupt the legally required process before Congress to supervise the counting of the Electoral College ballots and certify the results of that count.
137. As a result, Defendant Trump acted beyond the outer perimeter of his official duties and therefore is susceptible to suit in his personal capacity.
138. The activities alleged above were undertaken by all Defendants as co-conspirators for the purpose of seeking to prevent Plaintiff Thompson and other members of Congress from certifying that former Vice President Biden won the presidential election.
139. As a result of the acts set out in the above paragraphs committed in furtherance of this conspiracy, Plaintiff Thompson was hindered and impeded in the discharge of his official duties and suffered the deprivation of his right to be free from intimidation and threats in the discharge of his official duties, as explicitly protected under Ku Klux Klan Act. During the time when the Capitol was under attack, Plaintiff Thompson suffered emotional distress.
140. As a result, Plaintiff Thompson seeks an award of compensatory damages.
141. As the unlawful actions taken by the Defendants were malicious and in reckless disregard of federally protected rights, Plaintiff Thompson seeks an award of punitive damages to punish the Defendants for engaging in a concerted and continuing course of unlawful conduct
and to deter the Defendants and others from engaging in similar unlawful conduct in the future.