A group of Colorado voters filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against former US President Donald Trump, seeking to prevent him from appearing on the state ballot in the 2024 primary and general elections.
The 100-page complaint alleges that the former president led a “broad-based effort to pressure, coerce, and intimidate state and local officials to unlawfully overturn the 2020 election results.” In support of this claim, the complaint details the events of January 6, 2021, saying Trump called more than 10,000 protesters to Washington D.C. to “stop the steal” of the 2020 presidential election.
As a result of these actions, the complaint argues, Trump no longer qualifies to hold office in the US. This allegation finds footing in the US Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, section three bans any person from becoming president who took an oath “as an officer” of the US who later “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the US Constitution. The lawsuit contends Trump’s actions on January 6 met the definition of “insurrection” under the Fourteenth Amendment, citing how the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, including bipartisan groups in Congress, referred to the events of January 6 as such.
Regarding Trump’s actions, the complaint states Trump encouraged people to come to the nation’s capital who then “engaged in actual violence and made threats of imminent violence,” resulting in an insurrection. The group made specific threats against both former Vice President Mike Pence and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Last week, Trump pleaded not guilty to multiple election interference charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results after a grand jury indicted him in August.
Ultimately, the lawsuit seeks to prevent Trump from appearing on the 2024 ballots. The complaint also named Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold as a defendant, stating that because her official duties include “overseeing ballot access,” she should remove Trump from both the presidential primary and general election ballots in the state as he no longer qualifies to hold office.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed the lawsuit on behalf of a group of six Coloradans who have either Republican political affiliations or do not identify with any political party. In a press release, the organization stated:
While it is unprecedented to bring this type of case against a former president, January 6th was an unprecedented attack that is exactly the kind of event the framers of the 14th Amendment wanted to build protections in case of. You don’t break the glass unless there’s an emergency.
Recently, a US federal judge sentenced members of the Proud Boys Ethan Nordean and Dominic Pezzola for their role in the events of January 6 to 18 and 10 years in prison, respectively. Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was also sentenced to 22 years in prison for his involvement.