A lawsuit filed by the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee accuses former President Donald Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, of violating the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act which specifically makes any actions designed to prevent Congress from carrying out its duties as laid out in the U.S. Constitution illegal under federal law.

ABC News reports:

“The insurrection was the result of a carefully orchestrated plan by Trump, Giuliani and extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, all of whom shared a common goal of employing intimidation, harassment and threats to stop the certification of the Electoral College, said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi.”

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in a U.S. District Court located in Washington, D.C., Trump acted “outside the scope of his office” when he incited rioters to storm the Capitol building in an attempt to delay the certification of the 2020 election, which the former president lost to Joe Biden:

“The Defendants each intended to prevent, and ultimately delayed, members of Congress from discharging their duty commanded by the United States Constitution to approve the results of the Electoral College in order to elect the next President and Vice President of the United States. Pursuing a purpose shared by Defendants Trump and Giuliani as well as Defendant Proud Boys, Defendant Oath Keepers played a leadership role of the riotous crowd and provided military-style assistance sufficient to overcome any Capitol Police resistance.”

The advantage of the lawsuit, which is a civil filing, is that the charges don’t have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt the way they would if the matter was a criminal charge.

The KKK Act was passed to deal with the intimidation of members of Congress in the South who were often threatened during Reconstruction by the domestic terrorist group. It was designed to target conspiracies that would hinder lawmakers from carrying out their duties.

Thompson said he felt the lawsuit was necessary considering what took place on Jan. 6:

“Jan. 6 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.”

Five people were killed during the rioting, including a member of the Capitol Police Force.

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