House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., sits at a committee hearing on September 17, 2020. He has filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump and others in connection with the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., along with the NAACP and a Washington, D.C. civil rights law firm filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and two right-wing groups for violating the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act.
Thompson, who is suing the group in his private capacity, charges in a 32-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that Trump conspired with Giuliani and others to spark the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, who are named in the lawsuit, are accused of participating in the violence against Congress in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act.
"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," the lawsuit said. "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 November 2020."
A statement from the law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, which filed the lawsuit with the NAACP on Thompson's behalf, also quoted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said after Trump's second impeachment acquittal that the former president was "practically and morally responsible" and not immune to legal action.
"[Trump's] gleeful support of violent White supremacists led to a breach of the Capitol that put my life, and that of my colleagues, in grave danger," Thompson said in a statement. "It is by the slimmest of luck that the outcome was not deadlier. While the majority of Republicans in the Senate abdicated their responsibility to hold the President accountable, we must hold him accountable for the insurrection that he so blatantly planned."
NAACP President Derrick Johnson said Trump inspired White supremacist groups to take action against lawmakers. He said Trump's efforts sought "to disenfranchise African-American voters" by claiming there was massive voter fraud in locations that had large Black and minority populations.