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Congressman Eric Swalwell sues Mo Brooks, Trump and others over Capitol riot

Eric Swalwell’s lawsuit seeks to hold Brooks, Donald Trump, Trump’s son and Trump’s attorney accountable for the Jan. 6 attack.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., looks on in the House Chamber after they reconvened for arguments over the objection of certifying Arizona’s Electoral College votes in November’s election, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

Former House Impeachment Manager and Congressman Eric Swalwell, D-California, on Friday filed a lawsuit against Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, former President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani, alleging that they broke Washington D.C. laws by inciting a riot on the day of the U.S. Capitol attack and that they violated civil rights laws. 

“The Defendants, in short, convinced the mob that something was occurring that — if actually true — might indeed justify violence, and then sent that mob to the Capitol with violence-laced calls for immediate action,” the complaint reads. 

Swalwell’s lawsuit — filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia — cites Brooks’s speech before the riot broke out, in which Brooks told attendees: “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” 

Brooks has said that his words referred to politics and weren’t a call for physical violence. Brooks, in a message to APR on Friday, said under no circumstances will “Swalwell, or any other Socialist, stop me from fighting for America.”

“Socialist Eric Swalwell’s frivolous lawsuit is a meritless ploy by a man who betrayed his county by bedding a Communist Chinese spy while serving on the Intelligence Committee that hears America’s highest classified security secrets,” Brooks said, referring to an alleged Chinese spy who got close to Swalwell and several other politicians as far back as 2012, according to The Washington Post.

The woman fled the U.S. when the FBI began investigating her, and the original reporting by Axios does not include allegations that Swalwell had an intimate relationship with the alleged spy. 

“I make no apologies whatsoever for fighting for accurate and honest elections. In sum, I wear Communist-sympathizer Swalwell’s scurrilous and malicious lawsuit like a badge of courage,” Brooks said. 

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The complaint states that Brooks spread falsehoods about the presidential election prior to the Capitol attack, and spoke to the crowd about the need for “extraordinary sacrifices” to be made that day.  

“Trump implored the crowd to ‘fight like hell’ and ‘walk down Pennsylvania Avenue … to the Capitol.’ According to an analysis of cell phone location data, approximately 40% of the rally attendees did just that,” the lawsuit states. 

“Brooks told the crowd, just one minute into his speech, ‘We are great because our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives.’ He continued that the country faced a crisis of historical magnitude, its greatest crisis since World War II, and perhaps even the Civil War,” the lawsuit reads. 

Swalwell’s suit is similar to a lawsuit filed by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, against Trump, Giuliani and the extremist groups the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. Swalwell’s suit seeks damages, but in an amount to be determined during a trial.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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