Two Lawsuits Filed in Response to Trump Convoy Ambush of Biden Campaign Bus in Texas
Suits allege the 2020 vehicular assault on the Biden-Harris campaign bus amounts to political violence in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act
Austin, Texas — Protect Democracy, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP filed two lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in response to individuals in a convoy of Trump supporters who engaged in a pre-planned vehicular assault against a Biden-Harris campaign bus prior to the 2020 election.
One complaint was filed against individual drivers of the so-called “Trump Train” who conspired to harass and intimidate those aboard the Biden-Harris campaign bus. Another complaint was filed against law enforcement officials who turned a blind eye to the attack — despite pleas for help — and failed to provide the bus a police escort.
Timothy Holloway, a plaintiff and the driver of the bus added:
“When members of the ‘Trump Train’ surrounded us on the highway and started harassing and threatening us, we were terrified. They were clearly trying to scare us and prevent us from arriving at our destination in peace — and that day, it worked. The campaign had to cancel their events in San Marcos, Austin, and Pflugerville.”
Plaintiff Wendy Davis, who was aboard the bus to campaign on behalf of then-candidate Biden said:
“We filed this lawsuit because everyone should be able to engage in peaceful political activity free from fear, intimidation, or threats of violence.”
Plaintiff Eric Cervini, who was accompanying the Biden-Harris bus in a separate vehicle said:
“Everyone on the campaign bus was doing what good citizens of any political party should do — engaging in the electoral process. The intimidation and harassment we experienced is unacceptable, and we want to make sure it doesn’t happen in future elections.”
The plaintiffs seek a court order declaring the incident a violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 — a law Congress passed to deter political violence and voter intimidation, particularly toward Black Americans. The Klan Act also includes provisions making it illegal for law enforcement to negligently fail to take steps to prevent an impending conspiracy to engage in political violence when they have knowledge of it.
Michael Gottlieb, Partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP said:
“Those who engage in organized threats — whether they’re online death threats or mob violence — are breaking the law and will be called to account for their actions in federal court.”
Voter intimidation is nothing new in the U.S., which has a long history of Black votes being suppressed through intimidation and brutal violence. However, in recent years there has been an increase in the use of intimidation tactics and threats of violence to silence political adversaries. The attack on the Biden-Harris campaign bus was part of a trend of increased political violence incidents which culminated in the insurrection and violent assault on Congress on January 6, 2021.
John Paredes, Counsel at Protect Democracy said:
“Political violence is toxic to the foundations of our democracy. To have a functioning democracy, elections must be won based on the strength of a party’s ideas at the ballot box, not the strength of their militias in the streets.”
Mimi Marziani, President of the Texas Civil Rights Project added:
“History tells us that once a cycle of political violence starts, it becomes very hard to stop — and it’s communities of color that bear the brunt. A nation governed by the rule of law can’t allow for the normalization of political violence or harassment, and we must hold those who engaged in or failed to prevent this behavior accountable.”
For more information about the two suits, visit “Trump Train” Texas Attack Lawsuits.
Protect Democracy is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.
The Texas Civil Rights Project is boldly serving the movement for equality and justice in and out of the courts. We use our tools of litigation and legal advocacy to protect and advance the civil rights of everyone in Texas, and we partner with communities across the state to serve the rising movement for social justice. We undertake our work with a vision of a Texas in which all communities can thrive with dignity, justice and without fear.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is an international law firm of approximately 850 attorneys.