FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2023
Contact: Alicia Mercedes, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON – Following today's pivotal decision in Lee vs. Trump, the first civil legal action seeking to hold the former president accountable for his conduct connected to the January 6th insurrection and efforts to overturn the 2020 election, NAACP leadership issued the following statements:
"Donald Trump has and continues to pose an imminent threat to democracy," said NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson. " The attempted coup on January 6 threatened the perseverance of our electoral process and the safety of our Congressional Members and staff, as well as the law enforcement who protect our nation's Capital. Let's be clear — Donald Trump must be held accountable. For over 100 years, the NAACP has fought for the right to vote, and we're not backing down. We will continue to do whatever it takes to protect our right to vote and make sure Black voters are heard in every election. This is what advocacy in action looks like."
"The KKK Act was enacted more than 150 years ago, in part, to fight attacks on Black Americans' voting rights," said NAACP General Counsel Janette McCarthy Wallace. "While it's unfortunate that violent attacks on our voting rights and democracy continue, we will not be scared out of our pursuit for justice and to protect our rights. We will not back down in this fight. We strongly believe in the merits of our case and we're pleased that the Court agrees with our views."
Lee vs. Trump was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on February 16, 2021. It was the first lawsuit filed seeking to hold Trump accountable for his conduct relating to the January 6th insurrection and his attempts to overturn the will of the voters in the 2020 Election. Lee vs. Trump was filed initially on behalf of Congressman Bennie Thompson. Ten additional Members of Congress officially joined as plaintiffs of the lawsuit on April 10, 2021. The plaintiffs are represented by counsel from the NAACP and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC. When Rep. Thompson was appointed to lead the House of Representatives' January 6th Select Committee; he withdrew as a plaintiff in this lawsuit to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The lawsuit alleges violation of 42 USC sec 1985(1), which was enacted as part of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which prohibits conspiracies, through use of violence, threats or intimidation, that seek to prevent members of Congress from discharging their official duties. This Act was passed during Reconstruction to combat attacks on the voting rights of Black Americans and attacks on Black Elected officials seeking to prevent them from taking office and discharging their official duties. On February 20, 2021, Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the majority of Defendants' motions to dismiss, including denying Trump the absolute immunity from suit that has always been afforded to presidents in the past for conduct occurring while serving in office.
Trump appealed this denial of immunity to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.