A senior Democratic congressman sued former president Donald Trump Tuesday, accusing him of violating the 19th century “Ku Klux Klan Act” by supporting the January 6 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.
“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.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)