A 71-year-old disabled man who lives in a New Jersey government-sponsored housing complex, who also happens to be a paroled murderer, has filed a civil lawsuit against former president Donald Trump seeking $1 trillion in damages over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Arnett Thomas, who served 20 years in prison before his release in 2000, drafted the 29-page class-action lawsuit himself. Right now there are 75 co-plaintiffs. “The former president literally became the very domestic enemy to the Constitution he swore to defend,” Thomas wrote.
The twice-impeached, one-term former president hasn’t filed a response and it’s unclear how far Thomas’ legal gambit will move forward in the federal court system, although he does have a successful track record navigating the legal system. Thomas spent a great deal of time in prison law libraries and became adept enough at the law to file a lawsuit on behalf of New Jersey prison inmates in 1985 that triggered changes in the state’s rules on solitary confinement.
The assertions in the lawsuit reflect how many view Trump’s actions and inactions in addressing the pandemic. “The point of all of this is how Trump dealt with the pandemic,” Thomas said in an interview with northjersey.com. “He drove people to dying.”
Thomas’ lawsuit seeks the $1 trillion from Trump as punishment for the almost 570,000 deaths to date in America from COVID-19 and related causes, as well as for the economic and psychological problems many have suffered as a result of job loss and extended home confinement and isolation.
Kyani Robinson, 21, one of the co-plaintiffs, said, “Everything Trump has done since he’s been in office has been really shady and all backwards and messed up. Trump allowed the disease to spread. What he did was politically motivated. If Trump would have handled this pandemic in a proper way he would have been elected [again]. Trump got kicked out because of the way he handled it.”
Another co-plaintiff, Kevin Williams, signed on to the lawsuit soon after Thomas called him and described what he was planning to do. Williams is a psychotherapist for a Philadelphia-based non-profit, and said the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on Black and other minority communities. He wants to see Trump in court.
“At some point, I believe that public officials need to be held accountable,” Williams said. “I don’t know what Trump thought he was doing, but what I can say is that it’s been a disaster.”