Ten members of Congress whose lives were endangered during the deadly Capitol insurrection earlier this year joined a lawsuit filed by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and the NAACP against former President Trump and Rudy Giuliani.
In the lawsuit that was first filed in February, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee accuses Trump and Giuliani of conspiring with extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers to incite the mob behind the Capitol attack. The lawsuit asserts that the defendants violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 — the law passed in the years following the Civil War to combat white supremacist terrorism from the Klan.
Thompson’s lawsuit accuses the defendants of conspiring to prevent public office-holders from carrying out their official duties. The breaching of the Capitol happened the day of the joint session of Congress ratifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
“The Defendants acted in concert to incite and then carry out a riot at the Capitol by promoting an assembly of persons to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct or the threat of it that created grave danger of harm to the Plaintiff and to other Members of Congress,” the suit, which was filed on Thompson’s behalf by the NAACP, reads.
The amended complaint filed Wednesday adds the extremist group the Warboys LLC, which allegedly operated in conjunction with the Proud Boys, and Enrique Tarrio, the alleged leader of the Proud Boys and Warboys, as defendants.
The amended complaint also includes personal anecdotes by each member of Congress who added their names to the lawsuit that recall their harrowing experiences on Jan. 6.
Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Karen Bass (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Hank Johnson Jr. (D-GA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) joined the lawsuit.
In the amended complaint, lawmakers described the trauma they experienced in the aftermath of the insurrection.
Bass learned that the Capitol had been breached upon walking into her office that day. The amended complaint said that if Bass had walked slower or been delayed even by a few minutes, she would have been at higher risk of attacked by the rioters.
“The riot has shaken Rep. Bass’ faith in the security of the Capitol,” the amended complaint reads. “For days after the riot, she was troubled by the realization that she could have been seriously harmed or killed by the rioters at the Capitol.”
Cohen recalled thinking he was going to die as rioters roamed the hallways on Jan. 6. Cohen said he escaped to his office amid the Capitol attack and sat with the lights turned off and a baseball bat in his hand for hours, and has developed difficulties with his digestion as well as falling and staying asleep as a result.
“(Cohen) became jumpy whenever he heard a loud or unfamiliar noise in his home,” the amended complaint reads. “He also had recurring fears that he was not as safe as he had previously believed, renewing his thoughts about the choice of places where he would be buried.”
The lawsuit filed by Thompson and backed by the NAACP in February was the first civil action filed against Trump related to the deadly Capitol insurrection that the former president incited.