Trump sued for Capitol attack under 'Ku Klux Klan Act'

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Donald Trump.
Donald Trump.
Getty
  • Former US president Donald Trump has been charged in relation to the siege on the US Captiol in January.
  • A Democratic congressman has sued Trump, accusing him of violating the law.
  • Trump's lawyer and an extremist group have also been accused in the case.


A senior Democratic congressman sued former president Donald Trump Monday, accusing him of violating the 19th century "Ku Klux Klan Act" by supporting the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.

Bennie Thompson accused Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and extremist groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers of violating the 1871 act by supporting efforts to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the new US president.

Thompson, who is Black and the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, cited a law originally created to protect the rights of African Americans after the Civil War and the end of slavery.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington two days after Trump was acquitted of supporting insurrection in an impeachment trial in the Senate.

While a majority of the Senate, 57 of the 100 members, voted for conviction, it fell short of the two-thirds majority required.

The act was designed to give the US president powers to oppose violently racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan which sprung up in the wake of the 1861-65 Civil War to oppose equal rights for Black Americans.

One seldom-invoked clause of the act, 1875, forbids conspiracy to obstruct federal officeholders from performing their jobs.

Thompson alleged that Trump, Giuliani and the two groups conspired "by force, intimidation and threats" to prevent him from discharging his official duty to carry out the certification of Biden's election win.

Concert

"The defendants acted in concert to incite and then carry out a riot at the Capitol by promoting an assembly of persons to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct or the threat of it that created grave danger of harm to the Plaintiff and to other Members of Congress," he said.

Civil rights organization the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is representing Thompson in the suit.

He said the attack on the Capitol, which temporarily halted the certification, left five people dead and scores injured, arose from a "common plan that the Defendants pursued since the election held in November 2020."

It culminated in the January 6 White House rally attended by members of the two groups, in which both Trump and Giuliani directly urged them to halt the certification.

Thompson is seeking unspecified compensatory damages for "emotional distress" due to the attack, and punitive damages to punish Trump and the other defendants for "unlawful conduct."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When and why would you have your or your partner's sperm count checked?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
That's an unnecessary procedure
17% - 200 votes
As soon as we decide to start a family
6% - 68 votes
Only if we're struggling to conceive
77% - 914 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
13.72
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
19.35
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
16.62
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.58
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,877.34
0.0%
Silver
27.92
0.0%
Palladium
2,779.00
0.0%
Platinum
1,151.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
72.69
+0.2%
Top 40
61,445
+0.3%
All Share
67,724
+0.3%
Resource 10
65,776
+1.1%
Industrial 25
87,620
+0.1%
Financial 15
13,639
-0.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo