Brooks pushes for immunity from Swalwell suit over January 6

Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksWatchdog group seeks ethics probe over McCarthy's Jan. 6 comments Jan. 6 panel seeks records of those involved in 'Stop the Steal' rally Jan. 6 panel to ask for preservation of phone records of GOP lawmakers who participated in Trump rally: report MORE (R-Ala.) told a court Wednesday that he should have immunity from a civil lawsuit over his remarks at a rally just before the Capitol riot, pushing back against the Justice Department's argument that he was not acting within the scope of his employment as a lawmaker Jan. 6.

Brooks filed a response to the Biden administration's refusal to back his immunity claim, disputing their assessment of his "Stop the Steal" rally speech as campaign activity and thus not legally protected from the civil suit.

The Alabama Republican, who is representing himself against a lawsuit from Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation MORE (D-Calif.), defended his character and attacked Democrats in the court filings.

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"In 4 decades of public service, Brooks has a perfect ethics record, having never been found to have violated any ethics laws, large or small (despite Democrats, over the years, having harassed Brooks with at least 38 ethics complaints, none of which have been found to be substantive or warranted)," Brooks wrote.

He added that he had never been unfaithful to his wife, has no criminal history and has never taken illegal drugs.

Swalwell filed the lawsuit earlier this year, accusing Brooks, former President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE and ex-Trump lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiRoger Stone served with Capitol riot lawsuit during radio interview FEC finds Twitter didn't break law by blocking spread of Hunter Biden story Juan Williams: The toxic legacy of Trump's corruption MORE of inciting the riot at the Capitol.

Brooks asked the Justice Department to certify that he was acting within his official duties as a legislator when he delivered a speech Jan. 6, which under federal law would effectively shield him from such lawsuits.

But last week, the Justice Department declined, arguing that his conduct that day appeared to be political campaigning, which does not fall under protected activity.

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"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," department lawyers wrote in their filing.

One section of the Justice Department brief included the heading, "Instigating an attack on the United States Capitol would not be within the scope of a Member of Congress’s employment."

Brooks also filed a motion Wednesday to strike what he said were "fictions" in the Justice Department's brief.

"It is also abundantly clear (as shown hereinafter) that the DoJ has little understanding about what Members of Congress do in their jobs in Congress," Brooks wrote.

"Swalwell’s Complaint makes every effort to replicate the Salem Witch Hunt," he continued.

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Swalwell's attorney Philip Andonian pushed back, saying in an email that Brooks "continues to demonstrate why anyone who represents themselves has a fool for a client."

"Putting aside the allegations in the Complaint, which must be accepted as true at this stage, Brooks himself admits in his supporting affidavit that he was, in fact, campaigning — as both the House and DOJ correctly observed. He might not like that he sunk his own argument, but it is what it is. His responsive pleadings filed today are nonsensical at best, and do nothing to change the fact that DOJ correctly concluded that Brooks was acting outside the scope of his employment on January 6 and thus is properly a defendant in our case," Andonian added.

Updated: 11:50 p.m.