Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) demanded his dismissal from a federal lawsuit alleging that he helped incite the mob behind the deadly Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, arguing that he can’t be sued because he was acting as a federal employee while vowing to challenge the election results hours before the attack.
In a motion Friday, Brooks said that he should be dropped as a defendant or represented by the Justice Department in the lawsuit filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) in federal court back in March. The lawsuit also names former President Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Guliani for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection and breaking laws in the process.
Brooks cited a 1988 law that protects federal employees from being held liable while acting within the scope of their office or employment. Brooks insisted that his speech hours before the Capitol insurrection, tweets and related conduct “were indisputably made in the context of and preparation for” the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“Brooks represented the interests of his constituency when Brooks challenged the Electoral College vote submittals of states whose election processes were less than reliable in the judgment of Brooks,” Brooks said in the filing. “It makes no difference whether Brooks was right or wrong.”
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington directed the Justice Department and Swalwell to respond to Brooks’s claims. Mehta gave Swalwell and the Justice Department a July 27 deadline to respond.
Trump similarly asked the judge to dismiss the case by arguing that he has absolute immunity from lawsuits over his official actions as President.
Brooks was finally served with papers in the lawsuit last month, which involved a heated exchange between Brooks’ wife and the process server. Brooks spent weeks taunting Swalwell about his team’s inability to track Brooks down and press the papers into his hands. In court filings, Swalwell’s lawyers said that the difficulty they had in serving Brooks with the papers prompted them to hire a private investigator to hunt him down.
During a “Stop the Steal” rally hours before the Capitol was breached, Brooks parroted Trump’s falsehoods of a stolen election and asked the crowd whether they were ready to sacrifice their lives to challenge the election results. Trump himself told the crowd to “fight like hell” to overturn the election results amid his refusal to concede and bogus claims of widespread election fraud.