Donald Trump has been sued in a civil suit over his role in the January 6 Capitol riots in Washington DC as rivals scramble to find ways to block him from ever running for political office again.

The lawsuit by the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson is believed to be the first filed by a member of Congress.

 

The law suit wants to achieve unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

Former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani is also named as a defendant after his somewhat infamous call for "trial by combat" by Trump supporters, which he later claimed was nothing more than a Game of Thrones reference.

 

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 organisations that had members charged by the Justice Department with taking part in the siege.

Lawyers for Trump have denied that he incited the riot, The Sun reported.

 

The new suit was lodged in federal court in Washington under a Reconstruction-era law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act.

It comes just days after the former President was acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial that centred on allegations that he incited the riot, in which five people died.

The Sun says that acquittal is likely to open the door to fresh legal scrutiny over Trump's actions before and during the siege.

The courts might end up being where Donald Trump is forced to answer questions over his role in the riots.

 

Mr Trump asserted after the election that the result was fraudulent, although courts did not back his position.

Despite evidence to the contrary, the suit says, Mr Trump and Mr Giuliani said the election was stolen while Mr 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 co-ordinated campaign to interfere with the legal process required to confirm the tally of votes cast in the Electoral College."

There is a general acceptance that presidents are given immunity from lawsuits for actions they take in their time in the White House.

But the new legal action was instigated against Mr Trump in his personal role and asserts the incidents of January 6 had nothing 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 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 Mr Trump and Mr Giuliani made in the weeks leading up to the riot and on the day of it that lawyers say were designed to mobilise 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.

 

 

Originally published as New bid to stop Trump from running again



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