Rep. Eric Swalwell, a House attorney during the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, filed a lawsuit against the former president on Friday alleging he instigated the deadly invasion of the U.S. Capitol.
The Swalwell, D-Calif. Civil lawsuit also accuses Donald Trump Jr., Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. Of “being wholly responsible for the injuries and destruction caused by the mob.”
Swalwell’s 65-page lawsuit accuses the defendants of conspiring to block President Joe Biden’s election victory.
The congressman is calling for a trial in the US District Court in Washington.
The Senate acquitted Trump last month of an article instigating the Capitol riot that resulted in five deaths and forced a joint session of Congress to go into hiding.
Before the pro-Trump mob stormed the building, Trump held a rally outside the White House reiterating a series of baseless conspiracy claims of election theft and pressure on Republicans to reject Biden’s victory. Trump Jr., Giuliani and Brooks also spoke at the Stop the Steal rally.
Property managers, led by Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Argued that Trump was directly fueling the violence of his supporters. They failed to convince two-thirds of the Senate, which is split between Republicans and Democrats, to vote in favor of condemning the former president.
When asked to comment on the lawsuit, Trump spokesman Jason Miller responded with a series of slurs against Swalwell, accusing him of “attacking our greatest president with yet another witch hunt”.
Giuliani did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on the lawsuit. Swalwell’s legal complaint repeatedly indicates that Giuliani stated, “Let’s go to court by fighting!” in his speech to the crowd before the January 6 riots.
The lawsuit also cites comments Brooks made during that rally. The Alabama Congressman “told the crowd to start” kicking the ass, “according to the court record,” and he spoke in awe of “our ancestors their blood, their sweat,” at an allegedly peaceful demonstration , having sacrificed their tears, their fortunes “. and sometimes their lives, ‘before they yell at the crowd’ Are you ready to do the same ?! ‘”
Swalwell’s lawsuit argues that Brooks “intended these words as a threat of violence or intimidation to prevent certification votes from occurring and / or to force Congressmen to ignore the election results.”
Brooks said in a statement to CNBC, “I do not apologize at all for fighting for accurate and honest elections.”
“In summary, I take the bizarre and malicious complaint of communist sympathizer Swalwell as a token of courage,” said Brooks. “Under no circumstances will Swalwell or any other socialist stop me from fighting for America.”
Swalwell’s legal action is the second lawsuit filed by a seated member of Congress accusing Trump of instigating the deadly uprising.
Bennie Thompson, Chair of Homeland Security Committee, D-Miss., And the NAACP filed their own lawsuit against Trump and Giuliani last month, accusing them of conspiring to prevent Congress from confirming Biden’s victory.
Both lawsuits cite sections of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 designed to protect against political violence and intimidation.
Thompson’s lawsuit also cites the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, two groups whose members are known to be among the thousands who stormed the Capitol complex.
Swalwell’s lawsuit alleges that the mob attacked the Capitol “as a direct and predictable consequence of the defendants ‘false and brand-new allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the defendants’ explicit demands for violence at the rally.”
Managers had made the same argument in Trump’s second impeachment trial, which in large part centered on whether it was constitutional to convict a former president. Many Republicans focused on this procedural issue rather than trying to defend Trump’s behavior explicitly.
Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said after the trial that Trump “is still liable for everything he did during his tenure”.
“He hasn’t gotten away with anything,” said McConnell, who voted to acquit Trump.
Read Swalwell’s lawsuit against Trump, Trump Jr., Giuliani, and Brooks: