WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Eric Swalwell, who served as a House manager in Donald Trump’s last impeachment trial, filed a lawsuit Friday against the former president, his son, lawyer and a Republican congressman whose actions he charges led to January’s insurrection.
The California Democrat’s suit, filed in federal court in Washington, alleges a conspiracy to violate civil rights, along with negligence, inciting a riot and inflicting emotional distress. It follows a similar suit filed by Rep. Bennie Thompson last month in an attempt to hold the former president accountable in some way for his actions Jan. 6, following his Senate acquittal.
Swalwell charges that Trump, his son Donald Jr., along with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, had made “false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the Defendant’s express calls for violence at the rally, a violent mob attacked the U. S. Capitol.”
The lawsuit spells out in detail how the Trumps, Giuliani and Brooks spread baseless claims of election fraud, both before and after the 2020 presidential election was declared, and charges that they helped to spin up the thousands of rioters before they stormed the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the violence on Jan. 6, including a U. S. Capitol Police officer.
“Now, after failing miserably with two impeachment hoaxes,” Swalwell is attacking “our greatest President with yet another witch hunt,” Miller said in a statement. “It’s a disgrace that a compromised Member of Congress like Swalwell still sits on the House Intelligence Committee.”
Brooks said the lawsuit was frivolous and “a meritless ploy.”
“I make no apologies whatsoever for fighting for accurate and honest elections,” he said, adding he wore the lawsuit “like a badge of courage.”
The lawsuit, through Trump’s own words, accuses the former president of inciting the riot, using much of the same playbook used by Swalwell and others during Trump’s impeachment trial — that his lies over the election results stirred supporters into the false belief the 2020 election had been stolen, that he egged the angry mob on through his rally speech and that he did nothing when faced with the images of throngs of his supporters smashing windows at the U. S. Capitol and sending lawmakers fleeing.
“Those with knowledge claimed that during this moment of national horror, Trump was ‘delighted’ and was ‘confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was.’ Others described Trump as ‘borderline enthusiastic’ about the unfolding violence,” according to the suit.
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