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Judge denies motion for default judgement against Mo Brooks

Brooks says his actions surrounding election fraud claims and Jan. 6 attack were on behalf of his constituents.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama., speaks Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally." (AP PHOTO/JACQUELYN MARTIN)

A federal judge denied a motion for default judgement against Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, which argued Brooks had missed a filing deadline in a case that seeks to hold him and other defendants responsible for the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Judge Amit Mehta in an order Monday said that Brooks could not be considered “an essentially unresponsive party” because he did ultimately file a response to the lawsuit with the court.

California Congressman Eric Swalwell’s lawsuit names as defendants Brooks, former President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani.

Swalwell filed a motion for default judgement against Brooks on July 1, stating that Brooks failed to respond to the complaint by June 27, as required by federal law. 

Brooks’ response was filed by the court on July 2, according to the date stamp on the filing, but Brooks dated his response as having been filed with the court on June 24.

Brooks in his response to the court said his actions surrounding the presidential election results and his speech before the deadly Jan. 6 rally near the U.S. Capitol were done in his official capacity as a congressman and for his constituents.

Swalwell’s suit alleges that Brooks was “acting in his personal capacity” with regards to the allegations in the complaint. Brooks denies that in his response to the court.

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Brooks says in a motion seeking to have him dismissed as a defendant that he was contacted by White House staff on Jan. 5 and asked to give a speech at the Jan. 6 rally.

“Brooks only gave the Ellipse speech because the White House asked him to….but for the White House request, Brooks would not have appeared at the Ellipse rally,” the filing reads.

Brooks goes on to tell the court that when he said the phrase “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass” during his speech, he wasn’t attempting to incite violence, but rather was speaking about 2022 and 2024 elections.

In response to Swalwell’s allegation that the defendants used “false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft” with regards to the presidential election results, Brooks reiterated the same unfounded allegations of widespread election fraud he’s maintained since the election.

Brooks wrote that “the evidence is overwhelming that the November 3, 2020 elections were the subject of voter fraud and election theft on a scale never before seen in America and that, if only lawful votes cast by eligible American citizens were counted, Donald Trump won the electoral college and should be serving his second term as President of the United States.”

President Joe Biden defeated Trump with a four-point margin in the popular vote and won the Electoral College 306-232.

Despite an ever-growing list of election fraud claims – from rigged voting machines to fraudulent ballots and millions of non-citizens voting – there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, according to numerous failed lawsuits and U.S. election officials.

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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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