clearn.png
Thursday April 15th, 2021 10:50PM

Democratic congressman sues Trump over role in Capitol riot

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic congressman accused Donald Trump in a federal lawsuit on Tuesday of inciting the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and of conspiring with his lawyer and extremist groups to try to prevent the Senate from certifying the results of the presidential election he lost to Joe Biden.

The lawsuit from Mississippi's Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is part of an expected wave of litigation over the Jan. 6 riot and is believed to be the first filed by a member of Congress. It seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

The case also names as defendants the Republican former president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and groups including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, extremist organizations that had members charged by the Justice Department with taking part in the siege.

Lawyers for Trump have denied that he incited the riot. A Trump adviser didn't immediately comment about the lawsuit on Tuesday, and a lawyer for Giuliani did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

The suit, filed in federal court in Washington under a Reconstruction-era law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, comes three days after Trump was acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial that centered on allegations that he incited the riot, in which five people died. That acquittal is likely to open the door to fresh legal scrutiny over Trump's actions before and during the siege.

Even some Republicans who voted to acquit Trump on Saturday acknowledged that the more proper venue to deal with Trump was in the courts, especially now that he has left the White House and lost certain legal protections that shielded him as president.

The suit traces the drawn-out effort by Trump and Giuliani to cast doubt on the election results even though courts across the country, and state election officials, repeatedly rejected their baseless allegations of fraud. Despite evidence to the contrary, the suit says, the men portrayed the election as stolen while Trump “endorsed rather than discouraged" threats of violence from his angry supporters in the weeks leading up to the assault on the Capitol.

“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 says. “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.”

Presidents are historically afforded broad immunity from lawsuits for actions they take in their role as commander in chief. But the lawsuit filed Tuesday was brought against Trump in his personal, not official, capacity and alleges that none of the behavior at issue had to do with his responsibilities as president.

“Inciting a riot, or attempting to interfere with the congressional efforts to ratify the results of the election that are commended by the Constitution, could not conceivably be within the scope of ordinary responsibilities of the president,” Joseph Sellers, a Washington lawyer who along with the NAACP filed the lawsuit on Thompson’s behalf, said in an interview.

“In this respect, because of his conduct, he is just like any other private citizen,” Sellers said.

Though the impeachment case focused squarely on accusations of incitement, the lawsuit more broadly accuses Trump of conspiring to disrupt the constitutional activities of Congress — namely, the certification of election results establishing Biden as the rightful winner — through a monthslong effort to discredit the outcome and to lean on individual states and his own vice president to overturn the contest.

The case against Trump was brought under a provision of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which was passed in response to KKK violence and prohibits violence or intimidation meant to prevent Congress or other federal officials from carrying out their constitutional duties.

“Fortunately, this hasn't been used very much," Sellers said. “But what we see here is so unprecedented that it's really reminiscent of what gave rise to the enactment of this legislation right after the Civil War.”

The suit cites incendiary comments that Trump and Giuliani made in the weeks leading up to the riot and on the day of it that lawyers say were designed to mobilize supporters to work to overturn the election results and to prevent the Senate's certification process. That process was temporarily interrupted when Trump loyalists broke into the Capitol.

Trump told supporters at a rally preceding the riot to “ fight like hell,” but lawyers for the former president adamantly denied during the impeachment trial that he had incited the riot. They pointed to a remark during his speech in which he told the crowd to behave “peacefully” that day. Defense lawyers are likely to revisit those assertions in the lawsuit. They may also argue, as was done during the impeachment case, that Trump's speech was protected by the First Amendment.

____

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Democratic congressman sues Trump over role in Capitol riot
A Democratic congressman has sued Donald Trump, alleging Trump incited the deadly insurrection at the Capitol
10:02AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Winter's wrath: Bitter cold, no power and a deadly tornado
A tornado has killed at least three people in a seaside town in North Carolina, at the rough edge of a blast of winter weather across the United States
10:00AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Stocks open higher on Wall Street, natural gas prices climb
Stocks are opening broadly higher on Wall Street, extending a push past the record highs they reached last week
9:46AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Myanmar's Suu Kyi faces new charge as crackdown intensifies
A lawyer says police in Myanmar have filed a new charge against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi
9:14AM ( 1 hour ago )
Bitcoin, seemingly omnipresent, crosses the $50,000 mark
After a wild week in which Bitcoin soared to new heights, Bitcoin is crossing the $50,000 mark
8:11AM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden extends pandemic help for homeowners, renters wait
President Joe Biden is extending a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the coronavirus pandemic
7:49AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Myanmar protests resume after 2nd night of internet shutdown
Peaceful demonstrations against Myanmar’s military takeover have resumed, following violence against protesters a day earlier by security forces and after internet access was blocked for a second straight night
2:35AM ( 7 hours ago )
Biden faces questions about commitment to minimum wage hike
President Joe Biden campaigned on raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour and attached a proposal doing just that to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief bill
2:05AM ( 8 hours ago )
India's dramatic fall in virus cases leaves experts stumped
When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in India, there were fears it would sink the fragile health system of the world’s second-most populous country
1:51AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Biden extending ban on housing foreclosures during pandemic
President Joe Biden is extending a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the coronavirus pandemic
7:25AM ( 2 hours ago )
Convicted rapper in notable Spanish 'gag law' case arrested
A 24-hour standoff between police and a rapper barricaded with dozens of his supporters in a university ended with the arrest of the artist, who has been sentenced to 9 months in prison for insulting the monarchy and praising terrorism
7:16AM ( 2 hours ago )
France votes on anti-radicalism bill that worries Muslims
France's lower house of parliament is voting on a bill that would strengthen government oversight of mosques and religious schools and crack down on polygamy and forced marriage
3:36AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Pelosi says independent commission will examine Capitol riot
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will establish an independent, Sept. 11-style commission to look into the deadly insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol
3:58PM ( 18 hours ago )
Activists fear Biden's commitment to higher minimum wage
President Joe Biden campaigned on raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour and attached a proposal doing just that to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief bill
12:41PM ( 21 hours ago )
France fights hold of Islamist radicals with dragnets, laws
More than three dozen police officers descended on a small private school in Paris, blocked the 92 students inside their classrooms, took photos everywhere, even inside the refrigerator, and grilled the school director in her office
9:38AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
Belarus detains dozens of journalists, activists
Belarusian authorities have raided the homes and offices of journalists and human rights activists and detained dozens
7:32AM ( 2 hours ago )
Allegations of abductions grip Uganda after tense elections
Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine on Monday released a list of 243 people who have allegedly been abducted by the security forces, piling pressure on authorities to find the missing people after the country’s leader suggested only dozens were in detention over criminal offenses
10:05AM ( 1 day ago )
Impeachment isn't the final word on Capitol riot for Trump
Donald Trump’s acquittal at his second impeachment trial may not be the final word on whether he’s to blame for the deadly Capitol riot
12:20AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: McConnell votes to acquit, then condemns Trump
Minutes after voting to acquit Donald Trump of the impeachment charge, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says there is still “no question” that Trump is “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol
4:32PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Trump cheers his acquittal in impeachment trial
Former President Donald Trump is welcoming his second impeachment acquittal and says his movement “has only just begun.”
4:09PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Senate acquits Trump of inciting Capitol attack
The Senate has acquitted Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, bringing his trial to a close and giving the former president a historic second victory in the court of impeachment
3:59PM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Winter's wrath: Bitter cold, no power and a deadly tornado
A tornado has killed at least three people in a seaside town in North Carolina, at the rough edge of a blast of winter weather across the United States
10:00AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Latinos face barriers like fear, language in getting vaccine
Latinos are facing daunting barriers to getting COVID-19 vaccines, creating a risk for public health as the coronavirus mutates and spreads
9:27AM ( 48 minutes ago )
Chinese vaccine arrives in Hungary, a first in the EU
A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines produced in China has arrived in Hungary
9:21AM ( 54 minutes ago )
Muted Mardi Gras: Closed bars, barricaded Bourbon Street
Mardi Gras has arrived in New Orleans
9:20AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Myanmar's Suu Kyi faces new charge as crackdown intensifies
A lawyer says police in Myanmar have filed a new charge against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi
9:14AM ( 1 hour ago )