Congressman sues Trump over deadly Capitol siege, charges civil rights violation

FILE PHOTO: Impeachment trial of former U.S. President Trump continues in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. House impeachment manager Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) delivers part of the impeachment managers’ opening argument in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on charges of inciting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, on the floor of the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2021. U.S. Senate TV/Handout via Reuters

California Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell has sued former President Donald Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other allies of the former president over the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol when violent Trump supporters tried to stop the certification of Trump’s election defeat.

The civil lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, alleges that the attack, which left five dead including a police officer, was a “direct and foreseeable consequence” of unlawful actions by Trump, Giuliani, Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., Republican congressman Mo Brooks and others.

“As such, the Defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed,” said Swalwell, who was one of the impeachment managers who last month attempted to persuade the U.S. Senate to block Trump from holding office again, saying Trump incited the violence. The Senate voted to acquit Trump.

The lawsuit draws on evidence from the impeachment trial, including Trump tweets leading up to the attack, and details the former president’s efforts to pressure state lawmakers to halt President Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller insulted Swalwell in a statement, calling him “a low-life with no credibility.”

Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Brooks spokesman also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Swalwell is the second lawmaker to sue Trump over the insurrection.

Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat who chairs the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, last month filed a lawsuit accusing Trump, Giuliani and two right-wing groups of conspiring to incite the riot.

Swalwell’s lawsuit alleges Trump and his allies broke a U.S. law that prohibits conspiracies to violate civil rights. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages against the defendants, including punitive damages.

Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said Swalwell’s lawsuit was “not a slam dunk” but might eventually result in Trump sitting for an interview under oath.

“As with so many suits against Trump, the name of the game may be to keep the suit going long enough to take depositions and obtain discovery,” Levinson said.

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