J. Scott Applewhite / AP
The Justice Department has rejected a request by Republican Rep. Alabama Mo Brooks for legal protection in court against a lawsuit linking him to the Jan.6 insurgency on the U.S. Capitol.
Brooks, former President Donald Trump and others were sued by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) Earlier this year. Swalwell alleges that Brooks and others named in the lawsuit helped incite the crowd of Trump supporters on Jan.6 at a pro-Trump rally.
The group then indicted the United States Capitol building. Five people died that day.
The Justice Department said Brooks was engaged in campaign activity when he attended the rally. It does not fall within the scope of his duties as a congressman, so he does not have legal immunity for his actions, the department said.
“The department declined to issue a certification because it cannot conclude that Brooks was acting in the course of his duty or employment as a member of Congress at the time of the incident giving rise to the claims in this matter.” , said the Justice Department. explained in a court file.
Legislators can sometimes enjoy legal protection as a “government employee”. This is permitted when their actions are considered to be done in the course of their duties.
In this case, the federal government’s decision appears to open the door for more people to be held responsible for the insurgency that day.
Brooks still has the option of convincing a federal judge, who has the final decision.