New January 6th Commission Could Have Legal Consequences

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New Jan 6th Commission Could Have Legal Consequences; Evidence Could Help Jail Trump and Bolster Massive Class Action Law Suits

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Establishing Facts About The Insurrection On January 6th

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 14, 2021) - Leaders in the House have agreed to establish a 10-member panel to investigate “facts and circumstances … as well as the influencing factors” that provoked the attempted insurrection on January 6th.

The panel's findings, bolstered by its power to obtain evidence, could have important legal consequences, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, whose legal complaint has already led to one criminal investigation of former president Donald Trump.

Banzhaf notes that Trump is already also under investigation regarding his role on that day and leading up to that day, with the possibility that he might be charged under a statute which makes it a crime to make statements that incite violence.

Evidence the Commission uncovers could provide additional ammunition for such a criminal charge, says Banzhaf. If the facts prove to be sufficiently damning, the Commission's report could also put pressure on the Attorney General for Washington D.C., Karl Racine, who now appears reluctant to move forward on the basis of currently available information regarding Trump.

More importantly, the finding with regard to the participants and the perpetrators of the riot could provide the basis for a class action law suit against those who are shown by the report to have engaged in serious acts of violence, and/or those who helped finance and encourage what happened that day. Suits against rioters have been filed in other jurisdictions.

Filiing A Class Action Law Suit

If such a class action law suit is filed on behalf of those harmed at the Capitol - including Members of Congress and their staffs, visitors, members of the news media (some of whom had the equipment destroyed) and others - plaintiffs could obtain a court judgment against each of the responsible defendants for the entire amount of all damages, says Banzhaf.

Under the well established doctrine of joint and several liability, all persons who participate in a coordinated act of violence - a civil conspiracy - can be held liable for all of the damages, even if an individual defendant did not cause it, says the law professor.

Such a massive class action, based in part on the facts uncovered by the Commission, could help deter others seeking to promote a wide variety of causes by engaging in crimes, says Banzhaf, who has helped inspire a number of law suits against those who engage in unlawful acts - even if nonviolent - to call attention to their various grievances.