Judge denies request for default judgment against U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks in Capitol insurrection lawsuit

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Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., speaks Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the “Save America Rally.” (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge has denied a request for a default judgment against U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks in a lawsuit over the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, had sought the default judgment against Brooks last week, claiming the Alabama Republican had failed to file a response to the lawsuit by the deadline. A representative from Brooks’ office said the response was filed before the deadline, but there appeared to be confusion over the response being processed and posted online.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta denied Swalwell’s request in an order posted Monday, stating Brooks did respond in a timely manner.

Other defendants in the case, including former President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani have all responded to the lawsuit as well and have made motions to dismiss it.

Swalwell’s lawsuit seeks to hold Brooks and others responsible for their alleged roles in the Jan. 6 insurrection that took place after a rally where they spoke out against the results of the general election won by President Joe Biden.

Brooks filed a petition Friday in the case asking the court to certify that when he spoke at the rally, he was acting within the scope of his elected office and should be dismissed as a defendant in the case.

Brooks claims in his court filing that he only spoke at the rally because he was asked to by a White House employee, and points out he gave the speech during Congressional work hours.

In addition to denying Swalwell’s motion for default judgment Monday, Mehta also gave him a July 27 deadline to respond to Brooks’ claim that he should be dismissed as a defendant.

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