WASHINGTON — Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., asked a federal judge to grant him immunity from a lawsuit accusing him of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol that resulted in five deaths and hundreds of people being injured.
On March 5, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., sued Brooks, former President Donald Trump and several others after they gave speeches at a Jan. 6 rally that falsely claimed that the 2020 election results were fraudulent and encouraged rallygoers to march on the Capitol, where Congress was holding an accounting of the electoral college votes that would make Joe Biden president.
During his speech at the rally, Brooks told the crowd to “start taking down names and kicking ass.”
Brooks previously asked the Justice Department to determine that he was covered by the Westfall Act, legislation that protects federal employees from being sued for doing their jobs.
“Brooks was asked on Jan. 5, 2021 by a person who identified himself as a White House employee to give a speech,” wrote the lawmaker, who is representing himself.
The lawmaker argued that the rally in support of Trump’s 2020 election was not a campaign event and said he was not paid by the campaign for speaking about his congressional responsibilities in certifying the results of the election.
But the department declined. concluding that Brooks’ continued support for Trump while making false claims was a campaign activity and not part of his responsibility as a member of Congress.
Inciting an attack on Congress “is not within the scope of employment of a Representative — or any federal employee,” the Justice Department stated.