BY BARRINGTON M. SALMON
TRICE EDNEY NEWSWIRE
Former President Donald Trump escaped conviction by the U.S. Senate for inciting an insurrection that came close to toppling the government. But the fallout continues.
On Feb. 16, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson and the NAACP filed a law-suit against. Trump and Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer. The lawsuit alleges that they violated an 1871 law by conspiring to incite the violent Jan. 6 insurrection that resulted in the deaths of seven people.
The purpose of the coup attempt was to thwart certification of the 2020 presidential election results, the suit states. “January 6th was one of the most shameful days in our country’s history, and it was instigated by the president himself. His gleeful support of violent White supremacists led to a breach of the Capitol that put my life, and that of my colleagues, in grave danger,” Thompson said in a statement.
“It is by the slimmest of luck that the outcome was not deadlier. 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.”
Rally fueled riot
The lawsuit details Trump’s pronouncements and assertions before, during and after the November election that the vote would be stolen.
Such provocative rhetoric – though untrue, animated his base – a mélange of White domestic terror groups and other farright supporters.
He told them to go to the District of Columbia on Jan. 6 to stop congressional law makers from certifying the election. And after a rally on the Ellipse, Trump encouraged the mob to march to the Capital and “stop the steal.”
He claimed during the rally on live, national television that he would be with them. But he did not go.
According to the plaintiffs, the insurrection was a coordinated, months-long attempt to destroy democracy, to block the results of a fair and democratic election, and to disenfranchise millions of ballots that were legally cast by African American voters.
KKK act cited
The lawsuit claims that Trump and Giuliani, worked with right-wing groups like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and other far-right domestic terror groups to incite the riot in an attempt to prohibit lawmakers in Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election win.
The plaintiffs say their actions violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, a Reconstruction-era law that protects against violent conspiracies meant to stop Congress from carrying out its Constitutional duties.
The law was passed as a counter to widespread Klan intimidation of and violence against Southern members of Congress during and after Reconstruction.
Filed in D.C. court
The lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. by the NAACP and civil rights law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll on behalf of Thompson.
Other members of Congress, including Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), have indicated that they intend to join the litigation as plaintiffs shortly.
The NAACP is representing Thompson, officials said, because “the events on January 6th were just one more attempt by Donald Trump and his allies to make sure that African American voters were disenfranchised – this time, by trying to stop members of Congress from doing their job and certifying the election results.”
“Donald Trump needs to be held accountable for deliberately inciting and colluding with white supremacists to stage a coup, in his continuing efforts to disenfranchise African American voters,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP.
“The insurrection was the culmination of a carefully orchestrated, monthslong plan to destroy democracy, to block the results of a fair and democratic election, and to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of African American voters who cast valid ballots.”