February 16, 2021

The lawsuit claims that the former president and his personal lawyer violated the Ku Klux Klan Act by conspiring with white supremacist groups to incite the insurrection.

On the heels of the Senate's acquittal of Donald Trump, the NAACP, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson and civil rights law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll filed a lawsuit against the former president, Rudy Giuliani and two white supremacist groups, citing their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that Trump and Giuliani, in collaboration with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, conspired to incite the riots to keep Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. It claims they did so in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act, a Reconstruction-era statute designed to protect both formerly enslaved African Americans and lawmakers in Congress from white supremacist violence.

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The plaintiffs also point to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks following Trump’s acquittal, in which they claim he encouraged litigation against the former president, saying he was still vulnerable to legal action for his actions while in office.

And they plan to underline the fact that Republicans had an opportunity to pursue that litigation themselves.

“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,” Thompson said in a statement. “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.”

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