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Justice Department declines to represent Congressman Moe Brooks in Jan. 6 lawsuit

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Washington – The Justice Department on Tuesday denied the request of Congressman Moe Brooks, an Alabama Republican, to protect him in a civil lawsuit brought against him by Congressman Eric Swalwell of California for his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

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In a filing with the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, Justice Department officials said Brooks’ appearance at the January 6 rally outside the White House was “election activity” and argued that instigating an attack on the Capitol, Swalwell alleged, was outside the lawmakers’ business.

“[T]The complaint alleges that Brooks engaged in conduct that, if proven, is clearly outside the scope of employment for an officer or employee in the United States: conspiracy to forbid the legal ratification of the 2020 election, harming members of Congress, and inciting the Capitol riots, the Department of Justice told the court, “An alleged act of attacking Congress and disrupting its official functions is not the conduct of a member of Congress.

The department said the Alabama Republican did not bear the burden of demonstrating his conduct at the rally as a member of Congress.

“The record indicates that Brooks’ appearance at the January 6 rally was electoral activity, and it is not the business of the United States to choose one side among the candidates in the federal election,” the officials said. “Members of Congress are subject to a set of constraints which neatly distinguish between their official functions, on the one hand, and campaign functions, on the other. The conduct in interrogate here is therefore not of the considerate that a congressman is held in office to perform.”

Brooks, along with previous President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Attorney Rudy Giuliani, sued by Swalwell for their conduct on January 6. The California Democrat charged the four men with inciting violence on the Capitol in violation of federal civil rights laws and DC law.

The accusations against Brooks are based on a speech he gave during the event at the Ellipse White House, in which he falsely claimed that the 2020 election was rigged against Mr. Trump urged Congress not to reconfirm President Biden’s triumph. Swalwell alleges that Brooks incited violence on the Capitol, which occurred following he and Mr. Trump spoke and encouraged the crowds of the previous president’s supporters to burst into the building.

In response to the lawsuit, Brooks asked the department to certify that he was acting within his office with his letter, but it denied his request. If the Department found that he was acting within the scope of his business as a member of Congress, the United States could have been replaced as defendant.

Prosecutors told the court that Brooks’ own account of his remarks at the crowd rally was intended to influence the outcome of the 2020 election and coming contests. Referring to the claims of Swalwell, Brooks, with Mr. Trump, Trump Jr. Giuliani conspired to forbid Congress from counting electoral votes for states, and the Justice Department said “it is clear that such a conspiracy would be beyond the office of a member of Congress.”

“Incitement or conspiracy to conduct a violent attack on the United States Congress is not within the scope of the employment of a representative — or of any federal employee — and is therefore not the type of conduct for which the United States would properly be substituted as a defendant under federal law,” the department told the court.

In addition to the Department of Justice, the House of Representatives has also refused to provide legal assistance to Brooks, as litigation has begun by the incumbent lawmaker individually against another in his personal capacity.

Because the suit “does not challenge any institutional action of the House or any of its constituent entities, the Office has sure, in the circumstances, that it is not appropriate for it to participate in the litigation,” Douglas, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives counsel to the Court.

Referensi: www.cbsnews.com

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