Washington, DC sues Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for January 6 | WGN 720 radio
WASHINGTON (AP) – The District of Columbia has filed a civil lawsuit demanding heavy financial penalties against far-right groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for their role in the Jan. 6 insurgency on Capitol Hill by supporters of the former President Donald Trump.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, also names dozens of senior members of the groups, many of whom already face criminal charges for participating in the violent attack on the Capitol as Congress meets to certify the results. of the 2020 elections.
Karl Racine, Washington attorney general, said the lawsuit was aimed at seeking compensation for damage to the District of Columbia and intended to inflict maximum financial damage on the groups responsible.
âOur intention is to hold these violent thugs and violent hate groups accountable and get every penny in damage we can,â Racine said. âIf it happens that we bankrupt them, then it’s a good day. ”
There was no immediate response to emails sent to groups seeking comment.
The lawsuit cites as a basis a post-Civil War 1871 law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act. A similar tactic was used to secure a $ 26 million verdict last month against white supremacist groups and individuals responsible for organizing the violent Unite the Right 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Va., In which one person was killed after a man crashed his car into a group of counter-protesters.
The lawsuit came as the Justice Department on Tuesday separately indicted three other alleged members of the Pennsylvania Proud Boys for their alleged roles in the January riot.
The men, Isaiah Giddings and Freedom Vy of Philadelphia and Brian Healion of Upper Darby, are all accused of working with another suspected member of the Proud Boys, Zachary Rehl – who was arrested in March – to rape the Capitol . Prosecutors said the group had traveled together from Pennsylvania and the trio were pictured posing both outside the Capitol and inside the building.
Racine announced the lawsuit on Tuesday alongside Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC’s non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives. Norton said the lawsuit was designed to secure additional funding to support injured DC police officers in the defense of the Capitol and to serve as a warning to extremist groups.
âThey are going to have to spend money to defend themselves,â Norton said. “Even if we don’t get a dime in restitution, the deterrent effect of this lawsuit will say, ‘Be prepared to spend money defending yourself because we’re suing you.’ ”
Racine said evidence presented in multiple pending federal criminal cases already shows “explicit evidence of conspiracy” to commit acts of violence in the nation’s capital. He said the trial provided an opportunity to explore and publicly expose the far-right network’s financial support structure.
“I sure hope they try to defend the case,” he said. âWe look forward to asking burning questions about the finances of these individuals and groups. ”
The Proud Boys emerged from the far-right fringes during the Trump administration to join mainstream GOP circles. The Oath Keepers is a militia group founded in 2009 that recruits current and former military, police and first responders.
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