[Mo Brooks] Inciting or conspiring to foment a violent attack on the United States Congress is not within the scope of employment of a Representative -- or any federal employee. — The Justice Department
[Mo Brooks] Inciting or conspiring to foment a violent attack on the United States Congress is not within the scope of employment of a Representative -- or any federal employee. — The Justice Department
DOJ won't protect GOP Rep. Mo Brooks in insurrection lawsuit
The lawsuit was brought earlier this year by Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California. Brooks, an Alabama Republican, had asked the Justice Department to tell a federal court that he was acting as a government employee when he spoke at a Trump rally before the attack. If he were acting in his official capacity, he would be dropped as a defendant and replaced by the US government.

But in a court filing Tuesday, the department refused to take that step.

"The United States hereby reports that the Department has declined to issue a certification because 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," the Justice Department wrote in a filing. "In light of the Department's declination, the United States should not be substituted as a defendant in this action."

The Justice Department ultimately concluded that Brooks' activities at the rally were political in nature -- pro-Trump electioneering -- and thus not part of his official responsibilities.

"The record indicates that Brooks's appearance at the January 6 rally was campaign activity, and it is no part of the business of the United States to pick sides among candidates in federal elections," the filing said, adding that federal courts have "routinely rejected claims that campaigning and electioneering" are part of lawmakers' official duties.

... The rally that Brooks, Trump and others attended on January 6 was organized by a pro-Trump nonprofit organization, similar to a super PAC but registered with the IRS instead of the Federal Election Commission.

"Inciting or conspiring to foment a violent attack on the United States Congress is not within the scope of employment of a Representative -- or any federal employee," the Justice Department said, referring to the civil claims against Brooks spelled out in the lawsuit, which he denies.

The final decision is still up to federal Judge Amit Mehta of the DC District Court, but the burden now solely falls on Brooks to convince Mehta that he was acting in his official capacity.

The Justice Department clearly stated that it views the January 6 rally as a purely political event, and also that it's under no obligation to protect federal employees who try to attack the US government. This could influence how this and other civil lawsuits play out for Trump, who is a defendant in several cases and explicitly urged supporters at the rally to march on the Capitol.

All of the defendants, including Trump, deny wrongdoing.

... Swalwell's lawsuit focused on two aspects of Brooks' conduct in the lead-up to and on the morning of January 6: several tweets in which Brooks said Congress shouldn't certify Joe Biden's 2020 win and the speech he gave at the Ellipse rally, hours before the attendees mobbed the Capitol.

In that speech, Brooks told the crowd: "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking a**!"

"Now, our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives, to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history. So I have a question for you: Are you willing to do the same?" he said.
Read the full article: https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/27/politics/mo-brooks-lawsuit-doj/index.html