House impeachment manager Rep. Eric Swalwell filed a lawsuit Friday against former President Donald Trump and his allies claiming they should be held accountable for “inciting” the incursion of the Capitol on Jan. 6 and causing him “severe emotional distress.”
The California Democrat alleges that Trump, son Donald Trump Jr., attorney Rudy Giuliani and Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama were directly responsible for mobilizing the crowd that marched to the Capitol that day, according to The Washington Post.
“The Defendants, in short, convinced the mob that something was occurring that — if actually true — might indeed justify violence, and then sent that mob to the Capitol with violence-laced calls for immediate action,” the lawsuit read.
Swalwell said the four speakers violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, which was passed in 1871, by conspiring to interfere in Congress’ constitutional duties and failing to stop the mob.
“Trump directly incited the violence at the Capitol that followed and then watched approvingly as the building was overrun,” the lawsuit said.
“The horrific events of January 6 were a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants’ unlawful actions. As such, the Defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed.”
Swalwell claimed he suffered “severe emotional distress” while he was inside the Capitol during the incursion.
“The Plaintiff heard the mob pound on the chamber doors and smash glass in an effort to get inside,” the lawsuit said. “He watched as Capitol Police officers drew their weapons, barricaded entrances, and ordered the Plaintiff and other members of Congress to seek shelter, put on gas masks, and take cover in case there was gunfire.
“The Plaintiff prepared himself for possible hand-to-hand combat as he took off his jacket and tie and searched for makeshift instruments of self-defense. …
“As the Plaintiff watched this horror unfold, he texted with his wife in what he felt could be his last moments, telling her ‘I love you very much. And our babies.'”
“This is an important part of holding Trump — and the other Defendants — responsible for what happened on January 6th,” attorney Matthew Kaiser, who represents Swalwell, told The Post.
Today, I filed a civil claim against Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudolph Giuliani, and Rep. Mo Brooks for inciting an attack against the Capitol that terrorized lawmakers and prevented us from certifying the votes of the American people.
My statement: pic.twitter.com/3BkbvX8WHe
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) March 5, 2021
Trump was acquitted last month in his second impeachment trial.
“Eric Swalwell is a low-life with no credibility,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement.
EXCLUSIVE: A suspected Chinese spy developed extensive ties with local and national US politicians in what officials believe was an operation run by China’s main civilian spy agency from 2011-2015, Axios found in a yearlong investigation. https://t.co/wQUOW8Jpij
— Axios (@axios) December 8, 2020
“It’s a disgrace that a compromised Member of Congress like Swalwell still sits on the House Intelligence Committee,” he said.
Swalwell is the second Democratic congressman to sue Trump over the events of Jan. 6.
Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi filed a lawsuit last month against Trump, Giuliani and two right-wing groups, the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, claiming they incited an insurrection.
Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School, told Reuters that while the lawsuits were “not a slam dunk,” they might lead to Trump sitting for an interview under oath.
“As with so many suits against Trump, the name of the game may be to keep the suit going long enough to take depositions and obtain discovery,” Levinson said.
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