Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Chair of the US House Homeland Security Committee, filed a lawsuit against former president Donald Trump, Rudy Guiliani, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, alleging a conspiracy between the four to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties.
The lawsuit, which Thompson filed as a private citizen rather than in an official capacity, alleges that “[t]he Defendants conspired to prevent, by force, intimidation and threats, the Plaintiff, as a Member of Congress, from discharging his official duties to approve the count of votes cast by members of the Electoral College following the presidential election held in November 2020.”
Thompson alleges that the defendants violated 42 USC § 1985(1), the Ku Klux Klan Act, which states:
If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof; or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave any State, district, or place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties;
According to the lawsuit, a pattern of conduct helped incite the January 6 capitol riots. The lawsuit notes that as early as September, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power. Then, throughout the campaign, he encouraged violence, such as approvingly retweeting a caravan of Trump cars trying to drive a Biden campaign bus off the road. The lawsuit points to a pattern that culminated with Trump’s speech in Washington, DC, where he stoked an angry mob to storm the US Capitol.
The lawsuit requests for declaratory relief that the actions violated §1985(1), injunctive relief to prevent future violations of the statute by the defendant, and monetary damages.