Trump Is Now Facing a Lawsuit Over the Capitol Attack

Rep. Bennie Thompson and NAACP's suit also names Rudy Giuliani, white supremacist groups
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2021 10:05 AM CST
Congressman Sues Trump Over Capitol Riot
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has sued Donald Trump over the Capitol riot.   (John McDonnell/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

He was acquitted in his impeachment trial, but Donald Trump now faces threats from the courts in regard to the Capitol riot. On Tuesday, the first such threat from a member of Congress emerged in the form of a lawsuit by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, reports Politico. The NAACP filed the suit on Thompson's behalf, accusing Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers of trying to illegally stop the certification of election votes, per the AP. Specifically, the suit alleges that they violated the seldom-used Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which was designed to make sure KKK violence didn't prevent Congress from its duties. Two other members of Congress, Reps. Hank Johnson of Georgia and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, are expected to join the lawsuit as well.

"I feared for my life," Thompson tells the New York Times of the riot. "Not a day passes that I don't think about this incident." Thompson, who's seeking unspecified damages, is suing Trump personally, not in his capacity as president at the time, notes the AP. The 73-year-old congressman says he was endangered not just by the mob but by being forced to shelter in close quarters with other lawmakers, some of whom refused to wear masks. From the NAACP's point of view, Trump and Giuliani's effort to overturn vote counts took place in districts with mostly Black voters. "Underlying this insurrection were the actions of folks who were challenging the voices of people of color," says Janette McCarthy Louard, the group's deputy general counsel. (Trump ally Sen. Ron Johnson rejects the description of the riot as an "insurrection.")

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