Seven US Capitol Police officers on Thursday filed a lawsuit against former president Donald Trump, saying that he conspired with far-right extremist groups to provoke the deadly Jan. 6 attack on Congress.
In the suit, filed in Washington, the officers claim that the attack was the culmination of months of rhetoric by Mr Trump, who they say knew of the potential for violence and actively encouraged it in hopes of stopping the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
The lawsuit states that Mr Trump conspired with the extremist groups The Proud Boys and The Oathkeepers, as well as far-right political operatives including Roger Stone and Ali Alexander, who promoted Mr Trump’s “Stop the Steal” speech near the White House right before the Capitol attack.
“Trump, in concert with other defendants, deliberately and persistently made and encouraged false claims of election fraud to discredit the outcome of the election and disingenuously incite outrage among his supporters,” the lawsuit says.
The case is the latest in a string of civil lawsuits seeking to hold Mr Trump accountable for the siege of the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
Four people died during the violence: one shot dead by police and the other three of natural causes. A Capitol police officer who had been attacked by protesters died the following day. Four police officers who took part in the defence of the Capitol later took their own lives. More than a hundred police officers were injured.
In response to a similar lawsuit filed by Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell, Mr Trump has argued that his actions were free speech protected by the First Amendment of the US constitution and that he cannot be held liable under US civil law because he was acting within his capacity as president.