Pro-Trump congressman ‘finally’ tracked down to be served in lawsuit over Capitol riot

Alabama congressman accuses process server of ‘accosting his wife’ after private investigator tried to locate him for two months ‘to no avail’

Alex Woodward
New York
Sunday 06 June 2021 22:29 BST
Pence admits he and Trump will never see eye to eye on ‘dark day’ of the Capitol riot

Republican US Rep Mo Brooks accused a legal team for Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell of “unlawfully sneaking” into his home and “accosting” his wife to serve the Alabama congressman in a lawsuit seeking to hold him accountable for the Capitol riot.

An attorney for Mr Swalwell said the allegation is “utterly false” and that the process server “lawfully handed the papers to Mo Brooks’ wife at their home … which is perfectly legitimate under the federal rules,” according to Forbes.

In court filings this week, attorneys for Mr Swalwell alleged that Mr Brooks “refused to waive service or even speak to undersigned counsel about the case” for weeks, prompting the team to hire a private investigator to find him where he could legally be served.

An investigator “spent many hours over many days in April and May at locations in multiple jurisdictions attempting to locate and serve Brooks, to no avail,” attorneys said.

Mr Swalwell’s 65-page complaint filed in US District Court in Washington DC also targets Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr and Rudy Giuliani, whose speeches to a crowd before a mob swarmed the US Capitol on 6 January were seen as a months-long culmination of an election conspiracy narrative that incited a deadly riot.

In his speech during a “Save America” rally that day, Mr Brooks – while wearing a hat that read “Fire Pelosi” – told the crowd that “today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass” and asked, “Will you fight for America?”

He asked the crowd to consider Americans who sacrificed “sometimes their lives” to create the “greatest nation in world history”.

“Are you willing to do the same?” he said.

Mr Swalwell was not legally permitted to serve Mr Brooks on the House floor, and the sergeant at arms would have to give permission to a process server to enter.

Attorneys for Mr Swalwell also said security issues make serving Mr Brooks inside the halls of Congress difficult, and that his staff and attorneys for Mr Brooks did not make themselves available.

“It is not a defendant’s job to alter his conduct and go out of his way to seek out suit service,” Mr Brooks said a statement to The Independent shared by his office following the filing. “I have altered my conduct not one iota since Swalwell’s politically motivated, meritless lawsuit was filed. I have made dozens of publicized public appearances since the lawsuit was filed. If Swalwell was sincere about suit service, he could have served me at any of these public events.”

He also claimed that Mr Swalwell could have served him “at any time during, before or after” floor votes, though federal rules prohibit him from doing so.

Attorneys for Mr Trump have sought to dismiss the case, arguing that he has “absolute immunity” from responsibility because he was president at the time of the assault.

The lawsuit filed by Mr Swalwell is one of two cases from Democratic lawmakers against Mr Trump and his allies for the attack.

separate lawsuit from US Rep Bennie Thompson and 10 other House Democrats has accused Mr Trump, Mr Giuliani and members of the Proud Boys and far-right militia groups of a “concerted campaign to misinform their supporters and the public, encouraging and promoting intimidation and violence in furtherance of their common plan to promote” Mr Trump’s re-election, despite his definitive loss.

The defendants have asked a US District Court judge to dismiss the suit.

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