Attorneys for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and the NAACP have served former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club with a lawsuit filed against him in February.
Thompson and the NAACP filed suit against Trump alleging that his incendiary rhetoric and false claims of a “stolen” election amounted to a conspiracy to interfere with civil rights by inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
The suit names Trump alongside his attorney Rudy Giuliani and the right-wing extremist groups the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers as co-defendants and builds off the 1871 “Ku Klux Klan Act,” which was “intended to protect against conspiracies, through violence and intimidation, that sought to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties,” according to a complaint.
“The 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,” the lawsuit alleges.
It accuses the defendants of acting “in concert to incite and then carry out a riot at the Capitol” that “created grave danger of harm” to Thompson and other lawmakers.
Similar to the case laid out by Democrats in Trump’s impeachment trial last month, the suit lays out a timeline of Trump’s “concerted campaign” to retain power at any cost, from his refusal to commit to a peaceful transition before the election to his explicit endorsement of efforts to overturn the election result to his fiery rally speech on January 6.
Trump “solicited the support of, and endorsed the belligerent and violent actions of, organizations such as the Proud Boys that expressed support of his reelection,” the suit alleges.
Trump advisers did not immediately provide comment on who, if anyone, at this point is representing the former president for this lawsuit. When Trump was served, it was merely signed for by a “Ricky,” according to the court document.
Several Trump attorneys who The Daily Beast asked about this said they had no involvement. As of Tuesday, Alan Dershowitz, a member of the Trump legal defense for the ex-president’s first Senate impeachment trial, said “nobody [on the Trump team] has reached out to me yet” regarding this suit, but added that he personally believes Trump’s rhetoric on Jan. 6 is “protected by the First Amendment” and that “I would hope that the ACLU would take on a case like this.”
The suit adds to a growing list of legal troubles now facing former President Trump, his family, and his associates, since leaving office.
After a victory at the Supreme Court in February, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance obtained copies of Trump’s tax returns. The paperwork is reportedly part of a city fraud investigation looking into whether the former president lied about the value of his assets in order to gain financial advantages.
It’s unclear who will represent Trump, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers in the latest suit but court records show that Austin, Texas-based attorney Joseph D. Sibley IV accepted service of the suit on behalf of Giuliani. Sibley, a graduate of Harvard Law school, is a former U.S. Army Ranger.
“I am representing Mayor Giuliani in the Thompson lawsuit, and I will also be representing him in the Smartmatic and Dominion cases,” Sibley told The Daily Beast on Wednesday afternoon.
Sibley handles breach of contract, intellectual property, and other commercial law cases but has also represented clients in defamation cases and provided expert commentary for The Washington Post on defamation suits.
He represented far-right blogger Charles Johnson in a 2020 libel lawsuit that was originally filed against Verizon, The Huffington Post, and reporter Andy Campbell for a 2019 article which labeled Johnson a “Holocaust-Denying White Nationalist”—a description Johnson strongly denies. Johnson dismissed the suits against Campbell and Verizon but has appealed a federal judge’s dismissal of his suit against The Huffington Post.