Trump Hit With First Lawsuit in Connection to Capitol Riot, This One From Democrat Bennie Thompson

Former President Donald Trump was hit on Tuesday with his first lawsuit in connection with the Capitol riot on January 6.

The suit, which was filed by Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and the NAACP, alleges that Trump incited the assault in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act, a Reconstruction-era statute prohibiting interference with Congress' constitutional duties, according to the NAACP.

In addition to Trump, the suit names the former president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and two radical right-wing groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.

Capitol Building
Protesters supporting President Donald Trump break into the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Win McNamee/Getty

"The lawsuit alleges that, by preventing Congress from carrying out its official duties, Trump, Giuliani and the hate groups directly violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act," the NAACP said in a press release.

"The lawsuit alleges that Trump and Giuliani violated 42 U.S.C. 1985(1), often referred to as the Ku Klux Klan Act, which was passed in 1871 in response to KKK violence and intimidation preventing Members of Congress in the South during Reconstruction from carrying out their constitutional duties. The statute was intended specifically to protect against conspiracies," the release said.

Thompson also released a statement, which was included in the NAACP's release. He said, "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. Failure to do so will only invite this type of authoritarianism for the anti-democratic forces on the far right that are so intent on destroying our country."

In addition to Thomas, Democratic Representatives Hank Johnson and Bonnie Watson Coleman intend to join the litigation as plaintiffs in the coming days and weeks, according to the NAACP.

According to the Associated Press, the suit states that "the carefully orchestrated series of events that unfolded at the Save America rally and the storming of the Capitol was no accident or coincidence."

The suit adds that "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."

In an email to Newsweek, Trump spokesperson Jason Miller wrote, "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. President Trump did not incite or conspire to incite any violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6th."

The lawsuit filed Tuesday comes shortly after Trump was acquitted in his second Senate impeachment trial. He was impeached by the House for "incitement of insurrection," with Democrats arguing that his rhetoric sparked the violent attack on the Capitol.

Thompson told The New York Times that he wouldn't have filed the suit if Trump had been convicted during his Senate trial. "This is me, and hopefully others, having our day in court to address the atrocities of Jan. 6. I trust the better judgment of the courts, because obviously Republican members of the Senate could not do what the evidence overwhelmingly presented."

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson wrote in a statement that "the insurrection was the culmination of a carefully orchestrated, months-long plan to destroy democracy, to block the results of a fair and democratic election, and to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of African-American voters who cast valid ballots."

Newsweek reached out to Thompson and the NAACP for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.