NAACP and Rep. Bennie Thompson Sue Trump, Giuliani over Capitol Riot

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The NAACP, alongside Democrat Representative Bennie Thompson, filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, among others, on Tuesday.

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson has joined The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in a lawsuit against former President Trump, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as the groups the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.

The civil complaint, filed Tuesday, alleges Trump acted in violation of a “Reconstruction Era” law commonly referred to as the Civil Rights Act of 1871, or the “Ku Klux Klan Act.” The Ku Klux Klan Act was one of several steps taken to protect black citizens from the white supremacist organization. The suit specifically refers to statute 42 U.S. Code § 1985, “conspiracy to interfere with civil rights.”

“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 in a statement regarding the suit, continuing:

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.

Johnson linked the January 6 riot to white supremacy, stressing that the country could not endure a world in which such beliefs become normalized. “We also must recognize that if we allow these groups to become mainstream they won’t be extremists anymore, but part of our reality,” he said. “That’s not a reality that this country can survive.”

The NAACP said they expect others to join the lawsuit in the immediate future, including Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson and New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman.

On February 1, the Southern Poverty Law Center supported the idea that Trump helped to embolden extremists like those involved in the riots. “Trump, of course, acts as a partial explanation,” the organization said in its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report. “He undoubtedly emboldened the far right and, importantly, created heightened expectations,” they claimed.

On Tuesday, the SPLC claimed Trump “was the conduit through which [members of the “alt-right”] could access mainstream political power, and the internet was where they would build a movement using the forces of youthful energy and transgressive humor.”

Trump spokesperson Jason Miller denied the lawsuit’s allegations outright, shifting focus toward House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for the damage done. “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,” Miller said in a statement.

Miller asserted that Trump “did not incite or conspire to incite any violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6th,” challenging Pelosi and Bowser to “answer questions as to why they rejected additional security and National Guard assistance in the run-up to Jan. 6th.” And while he confirmed that Giuliani will not represent Trump in the coming legal battle, he did not clarify who would take his place in the defense.

The case is Thompson v. Trump, No. 1:21-cv-00400 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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