DOJ, House Counsel Will Not Assist Mo Brooks in Lawsuit Filed Against Him by Eric Swalwell

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the House Office of General Counsel have declined to defend Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) in a lawsuit filed against him by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ordered both the DOJ and the House general counsel to respond by Tuesday to Brooks' assertion that he was operating within the scope of his job when he spoke at a rally in support of former President Donald Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was "stolen" shortly before the riot took place. Swalwell's lawsuit alleges that Brooks is partly responsible for the riot.

The DOJ declined to defend Brooks in a court filing hours before the deadline was set to expire, writing that it "cannot conclude that Brooks was acting within the scope of his office or employment as a Member of Congress at the time of the incident out of which the claims in this case arose."

Shortly before the DOJ response, the House general counsel office refused to participate in the matter in its own filing, arguing against taking sides in a legal dispute between two House members.

"Given that the underlying litigation was initiated by a current Member of the U.S. House of Representatives individually suing another current House Member individually and does not challenge any institutional action of the House or any of its component entities, the Office has determined that, in these circumstances, it is not appropriate for it to participate in the litigation," stated the filing.

"The Office has adopted this same non-participation approach in other similarly situated litigation arising between currently serving members," it continued.

Mo Brooks Eric Swalwell Capitol Lawsuit DOJ
The Department of Justice and the Office of General Counsel for the House of Representatives both said in court filings on Tuesday that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) was not acting within the scope of his officials duties when speaking at a "Stop the Steal" rally before the January 6 Capitol riot. Brooks is pictured during a press conference in Washington, D.C. on June 15, 2021. Anna Moneymaker/Getty

The House filing was accompanied by a letter from the Committee on House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who wrote that Brooks, while defending himself from allegations that he helped to incite the riot, had already "sworn under oath in court that his conduct was instead in furtherance of political campaigns."

Lofgren maintained that Brooks' actions were therefore "outside the scope of official duties and not a permissible use of official resources." Brooks quickly blasted Lofgren's letter and accused both her and Swalwell of being adherents to "Socialism."

"A radical, left-wing Socialist Congresswoman supports Socialist colleague Eric Swalwell and attacks Mo Brooks without citing one shred of supporting case or statutory law," Brooks told The Birmingham News. "No news there. That is the price one must pay to defend America from the evils of Socialism."

"It may take time, but I am 100% sure that, if a judge will examine the facts and apply the law stated by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, in Council on American Islamic Relations v. Ballenger, then Mo Brooks wins this fight," he added.

At the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally, Brooks told the pro-Trump crowd that it was the day "American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass." Within hours, some of those in the crowd marched to the Capitol and violently breached the building in a failed attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's election victory.

Newsweek reached out to the DOJ and the office of Brooks for comment.