J6 hearings are turbocharging KKK Act cases against violent extremists — here's how
KKK (Shutterstock)

On Wednesday, writing for MSNBC's ReidOut Blog, Ja'han Jones outlined how the House Select Committee on January 6's hearings are empowering litigants going after right-wing extremists with a 19th century law designed to neutralize racial terrorists.

" Tuesday’s House Jan. 6 committee hearing focused on Trump World's ties to, and incitement of, extremist groups to stop certification of his 2020 election loss. And it was a gift to all of the current cases premised on the Ku Klux Klan Act," wrote Jones.

"We got evidence of communication between Team Trump figures and extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. But the hearing also helped the KKK Act cases by showing commonality between the violently antidemocratic MAGA movement that stormed the Capitol and the violently antidemocratic Klan chapters that have historically patrolled communities for similarly bigoted reasons."

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This matters, wrote Jones, because the KKK Act has taken a prominent role in efforts to go after extremists financially.

"The Ku Klux Klan Act, a post-Civil War law designed to break up white supremacist terrorist groups, got attention last year when victims of the 2017 riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, successfully used it to sue extremist groups that participated," wrote Jones. "The law has stayed in the public consciousness thanks to the NAACP, Democratic lawmakers and the attorney general of Washington, D.C., who’ve cited it in suits seeking damages from former President Donald Trump and extremist groups involved in the Jan. 6 riot."

Experts have suggested that Trump could be forced to fight the KKK Act litigation for years. And, noted Jones, there are several parallels to historical cases involving the actual KKK and the Capitol rioters. "Multiple KKK Act lawsuits have cited Klan chapters’ use of weapons to intimidate their perceived enemies," wrote Jones, including a 1965 case where Klansmen were "using clubs, belts and other weapons to chase Black people from a park, while a 1968 case in Alabama cited Klansmen who took weapons to a cross burning as evidence of violent intimidation."

"The historical ties are clear," concluded Jones. "The MAGA movement is no different from other bigoted, fascist movements we’ve seen in our nation's past. It should be dismantled and destroyed, and the KKK Act might be the best way to do that."

You can read more here.

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