Ten Democratic members of Congress have joined a lawsuit first filed in February that accuses former President Donald Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani of conspiring to incite the Capitol riot of January 6.
The members joining the lawsuit are Cohen, Reps. Karen Bass of California, Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, Veronica Escobar of Texas, Hank Johnson Jr. of Georgia, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Barbara Lee of California, Jerry Nadler of New York, Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Maxine Waters of California.
“As I sat in my office on January 6th with rioters roaming the hallways, I feared for my life and thought I was going to die,” Cohen said in a statement. “This invasion was a direct result of Donald Trump’s rhetoric and words. His calls to gather in Washington on January 6th and his message to ‘be strong’ thwarted the functioning of our Constitution.”
“Those responsible for placing me and my colleagues in danger must face accountability for their criminality,” said Nadler. “This violence was anything but spontaneous; it was the direct result of a conspiracy to incite a riot, instigated by President Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.”
The lawsuit was filed in February by Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
The suit was filed in a federal court in Washington under the Ku Klux Klan Act, an 1871 statute that includes protections against any violence that might interfere with Congress or its mandate.
“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,” the lawsuit said. “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.”
“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 an interview with NY1 in February.
Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the attack, which took place after a mob of Trump’s supporters breached the Capitol in a failed bid to overturn the results of the 2020 general election, which Trump claimed was fraudulent. There is no evidence of widespread election fraud, according to countless state and federal officials as well as independent observers. Trump’s own federal agencies also pushed back against his claims during his time in office.