Suing the “Trump Train”


A group of people traveling on a President Joe Biden campaign bus on a Texas highway last fall when it was surrounded and followed by former President Donald Trump’s supporters have filed a lawsuit against at least seven people who allegedly were following the bus, claiming the group violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and Texas law by organizing a “politically-motivated conspiracy to disrupt the campaign and intimidate its supporters.”

The Klan Act prevents groups from joining together to obstruct free and fair federal elections by intimidating and injuring voters, or denying them the ability to engage in political speech.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court Thursday, claims the defendants violated that law when they followed the bus, yelling death threats and streaming their activities on social media.

The plaintiffs include former state Sen. Wendy Davis, David Gins, a then-campaign staffer who now serves as deputy director for operations for Vice President Kamala Harris, Eric Cervini, another campaign volunteer, and the bus driver, Timothy Holloway. The lawsuit also states that the plaintiffs continue to suffer psychological and emotional injury from the event. The bus driver, Holloway, has been unable to drive a bus following the experience. They are asking for compensatory and punitive damages and for legal fees to be covered.

“What Defendants cannot do under the law is use force, intimidation, or threats against those with whom they disagree politically. Yet that is precisely what Defendants did by conspiring to use their vehicles as weapons to interfere with the constitutional rights of those who supported the Biden-Harris Campaign,” the lawsuit reads. “The Constitution’s guarantee of free speech, association, and assembly is empty if those rights cannot be freely exercised. And where groups are permitted to terrorize those with whom they disagree into forgoing their constitutional rights, the functioning of our democracy demands accountability.”


In an exclusive interview with the Tribune in January, Davis said she didn’t think law enforcement had taken the situation seriously enough. She said in San Antonio, police responded to a request for assistance, pushing the trucks with Trump flags back. But once they left San Antonio, the caravan once again surrounded the bus. Davis said they called 911 again in San Marcos but they could not get an officer to respond.

“They just kept saying, ‘Where are you now? Where are you now,’” Davis said in January. “We kept giving them landmark after landmark, mile marker after mile marker. … Never were we able to get anyone to come out. It was unbelievable.”

I didn’t blog about that incident at the time because there was a lot going on and there wasn’t much to add to it except inchoate anger. The Texas Civil Rights Project has a landing page for this – it appears there are two complaints, both of which have some unnamed defendants – with a one page explanation of the lawsuit and the law it has been filed under. The one pager says that the Klan Act has been “mostly unused” over the past hundred years, so who knows how a judge will view it. There is apparently still an FBI investigation of the incident, so perhaps we’ll be able to hear about what they have learned.

The Chron provides some details about the two suits.

The first of two lawsuits filed Thursday targets at least seven individuals who were driving the vehicles that surrounded the bus. The second addresses local law enforcement officers, whom the plaintiffs contend did not properly respond to the incident.


The first lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that the individuals involved in surrounding the bus violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which prohibits people from conspiring to inhibit individuals’ political speech via force, intimidation or threats.

“Plaintiffs feared the Trump Train might run the bus off the road, or that they might crash into a vehicle, wall barrier, sign, pillar, or other obstacle on or by the highway,” the lawsuit states. “They feared what the Trump Train might do if they succeeded in stopping the bus or forcing the bus off the road. Plaintiffs were terrified that someone on the bus, or someone else driving on the interstate, would be injured or killed.”

The second lawsuit claims that, as Biden staffers solicited aid from the San Marcos Police Department, they “were failed by the very officials charged with upholding both their safety and their foundational democratic rights.” The plaintiffs allege that they contacted San Marcos police with safety concerns a day in advance of their travels, and that officers declined to provide help when the bus was surrounded on the highway.

A spokesperson said last fall that the San Marcos Police Department had received a request for a police escort, but they couldn’t catch up with the vehicle before it left the city.

The lawsuit contradicts that claim, asserting that officers said they wouldn’t respond unless the campaign was “reporting a crime.”

OK then. Assuming they survive a motion to dismiss, I will be very interested to see what comes out of the discovery process, because the potential is there for this to connect to some public figures. I mean, it sure seems likely to me that what happened didn’t come as a complete surprise to various Republican campaigns and the state and county parties. I will also be interested to see if some fancy high-priced attorneys materialize for the defense. It’s surely best to keep one’s expectations low on this, but the potential is there for some accountability to be had. Here’s hoping.

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8 Responses to Suing the “Trump Train”

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    The Klan act of 1871 allowed extreme measures to combat the Klan, such as suspending habeas corpus. Amazing that they are reaching back that far in history for the basis of their lawsuit. Amzing also that the Most Racist Nation in the world had civil rights laws 150 years ago.

    Fascinating also that the people who want to “de-fund” the police seem to rely on the police for protection quite frequently.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    “What Defendants cannot do under the law is use force, intimidation, or threats against those with whom they disagree politically.”

    That’s nice. The blm and antifa have been tearing up American cities for a year and a half now, using intimidation and threats against those with whom they disagree politically, and they get kid gloves.

    The Trump folks need to get the exact same treatment here……kid gloves. Hey, when the left calls off their dogs, and quells the out of control black rage, let’s come back and talk. Until then….this is just lawfare that should be dismissed out of hand.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Worth quoting:

    “Fascinating also that the people who want to “de-fund” the police seem to rely on the police for protection quite frequently.”

  4. Frederick says:

    Worth quoting:

    “Fascinating also that the GOP who pretend to be pro-police were ok with Republican and Trump supporters beating/injuring/killing Capitol police officers quite frequently and then lie about it.”

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Worth noting:

    ZERO Capitol Police were killed by protesters in January. Stop with the Big Lie, Frederick.

    3 people had medical problems and died, one was murdered by a racist black cop (no charges for that murderer, compare and contrast with Chauvin, btw).

    While we can agree Sicknick was there, he didn’t die of injuries sustained during the protest, he died of natural causes unrelated to the protest. The fact that you’d lie and try to intimate that he was actually murdered not only dishonors Sicknick, its sickening.

    Leftist friendly source:

    You should apologize for spouting lies here, Frederick. I won’t hold my breath though.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Video evidence of leftists disguising themselves as Trump supporters to go cause mayhem at the Capitol:

    And hey, isn’t it weird that known blm asset John Sullivan was right there when Ashli was murdered by the black cop? Almost like it was set up that way.

    Also interesting how the FBI isn’t searching for many of the folks doing the actual mayhem. Maybe it’s because it was their assets actually doing it?

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    Remember when the leftist FBI used their asset to attack a peaceful Draw Mohamed contest in Garland, TX?

    FBI agent to Muslim terrorist: “Tear up Texas!”

    Why wasn’t the FBI agent and his handlers charged with violating the Klan Act?

    “Hendricks and Simpson were in contact to some degree. In fact, according to the document, Hendricks had made an online introduction between Simpson and the undercover agent and was the nexus between them. As a result of that introduction, Simpson and the undercover agent corresponded online. After Simpson posted a link to the “Draw Muhammad” event, the undercover agent wrote: “Tear Up Texas.”

    Simpson appears to have suggested violence.

    “Bro, u don’t have to say that … U know what happened in Paris … I think … Yes or no?” he wrote, referring to the January 7, 2015, attack on Charlie Hebdo.

    “Right,” the agent responded.

    “So that goes without saying,” Simpson responded.”

  8. Manny says:

    Unchain the dogs, chain the rabid white racists a la the Bill Daniels to protect our democracy.

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