The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump and others on Tuesday that seeks damages for the emotional distress he suffered during the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus whose long fight for civil rights has included removal of Confederate imagery from his state’s flag, seeks to hold Trump personally responsible for the violent insurrection
The lawsuit describes the role of the former president and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, as well as two right-wing extremist groups in assembling a mob that sought to prevent Thompson from discharging his official duties to approve the count of votes cast by members of the Electoral College after the 2020 presidential election.
It includes a description of Thompson’s experience that day as he feared for his life, including hearing the gunshot that killed one rioter and the risk of exposure to COVID-19 as a 72-year-old because he sheltered from the mob with two members of Congress who later tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“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 lawsuit states. “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.”
Thompson’s lawsuit says Trump is personally responsible because he “acted beyond the outer perimeter of his official duties and therefore is susceptible to suit in his personal capacity.”
The NACP filed the lawsuit on behalf of Thompson under the Ku Klux Klan Act, passed in 1871 in the wake of the Civil War, which bans any conspiracy to prevent members of Congress from discharging the duties of their office.