Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and the NAACP filed a civil complaint on Tuesday against former President Donald Trump, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers for allegedly conspiring to incite the Capitol riots on January 6. Although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against convicting Trump last weekend, McConnell blamed the former president for the violence and suggested that civil litigation or criminal charges could still be brought against Trump.
Filed in the federal District Court of Washington, D.C., the lawsuit accuses Trump, Giuliani, and the far-right extremist groups of conspiring to incite an assembled crowd to march upon the U.S. Capitol to disrupt and intimidate Congress from approving the count of electoral votes. The civil complaint specifically accused the defendants of violating a Reconstruction Era law commonly referred to as the Ku Klux Klan Act, which was intended to “protect against conspiracies, through violence and intimidation, that sought to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties.”
“As part of this unified plan to prevent the counting of Electoral College votes, Defendants Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, through their leadership, acted in concert to spearhead the assault on the Capitol while the angry mob that Defendants Trump and Giuliani incited descended on the Capitol,” the lawsuit alleges. “The carefully orchestrated series of events that unfolded at the Save America rally and the storming of the Capitol was no accident or coincidence. It was the intended and foreseeable culmination of a carefully coordinated campaign to interfere with the legal process required to confirm the tally of votes cast in the Electoral College.”
“I am privileged to partner with the NAACP to have my day in court so that the perpetrators of putting members of Congress at risk can be held accountable,” Rep. Thompson told reporters on Tuesday.
“You cannot move forward if you don’t address the illegality of what took place, the treasonous act,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson told The Hill. “If you try to move forward without holding people accountable, you only set yourself up [for] future activity that could possibly be successful in toppling our democracy. For African Americans, we see a long history of people not being held accountable…and if we don’t hold people accountable, there becomes this entitlement that it’s OK to cause harm and violate the law.”
“President Trump has been acquitted in the Democrats’ latest Impeachment Witch Hunt, and the facts are irrefutable. President Trump did not plan, produce or organize the Jan. 6th rally on the Ellipse,” Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, said in a recent statement. “President Trump did not incite or conspire to incite any violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6th. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser must answer questions as to why they rejected additional security and National Guard assistance in the run-up to Jan. 6th.”
“We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation,” Senate Minority Leader McConnell said after voting to acquit Trump on Saturday. “And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.”