The NAACP and Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, sued former President Donald Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and two right-wing groups on Tuesday for conspiracy to spark the deadly January 6 uprising in the U.S. Capitol .
The lawsuit, which is likely to include other Democratic lawmakers, cites the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which accused the defendants of conspiring to prevent Congress from electing Joe Biden to confirm to president.
This law was passed 15 years after the end of the civil war in response to the violence of the racist KKK and its intimidation of South Congressmen.
In addition to Trump and Giuliani, defendants in the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC include the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers groups, members of which were known to be among the thousands of people who broke into the Capitol last month.
The lawsuit comes three days after Trump was acquitted of instigating the uprising in his second Senate impeachment trial. Only seven Republicans voted to condemn Trump.
Trump had said without evidence for months before Election Day that the 2020 presidential contest would be fraudulent, and two months after his loss to Biden, falsely claimed he won the election and there had been widespread election rigging affecting the official results had to the Democrats.
On January 6, shortly before the Capitol invasion, Trump, Giuliani and other speakers at a rally outside the White House encouraged supporters to fight against the confirmation of Biden’s victory through a joint congressional session, which is usually a formality.
In a press release announcing the lawsuit, the NAACP said: “The uprising was the result of a carefully crafted plan by Trump, Giuliani, and extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, all of whom shared the common goal of using intimidation. Harassment and Threats to Stop Electoral College Certification. “
“They succeeded in carrying out their plan. After seeing the Capitol police barricade the doors of the house’s chamber with furniture, Congressman Thompson and other lawmakers put on gas masks and were taken to the Longworth House office block to take them.” More than 200 other representatives, employees and staff members sought protection. “
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of a coordinated plan to undermine the democratic electoral process and block the legal votes on millions of ballots cast by black Americans.
“January 6th was one of the most shameful days in our country’s history and was instigated by the president himself,” Thompson said in a statement.
“His joyful support of violent white supremacists resulted in a rupture of the Capitol that put my life and that of my colleagues in grave danger. It is a coincidence that the outcome was no more fatal. While the majority of Republicans in The Senate have a responsibility to holding the president accountable has been given up. We must hold him accountable for the uprising he has so obviously planned. “
Thompson added that the failure to hold the defendants accountable “only invites this type of authoritarianism to the far right anti-democratic forces so intent on destroying our country”.
Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, said in a statement: “President Trump was acquitted in the recent Democratic witch hunt and the facts are irrefutable.”
“President Trump did not plan, produce or organize the January 6 rally on the Ellipse. President Trump did not instigate or conspire violence in the Capitol on January 6,” Miller said.
He added that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, DC, will have to answer questions about why they turned down additional Security and National Guard assistance in the run-up to Jan. 6.
Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.