Washington (CNN) – Former House impeachment manager Eric Swalwell has sued former President Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Republican Rep. Mo Brooks in a second major lawsuit seeking to hold Trump and his allies accountable for inciting the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.
The new lawsuit filed on Friday by Swalwell, a California Democrat who helped to lead impeachment arguments against Trump for inciting insurrection, follows a similar suit filed last month by Rep. Bennie Thompson against Trump, Giuliani and the extremist groups the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. Swalwell’s case makes some of the same claims as Thompson’s — citing a civil rights law meant to counter the Ku Klux Klan’s intimidation of elected officials.
But it also alleges Trump, Trump Jr., Giuliani and Brooks broke Washington, DC, laws, including an anti-terrorism act, by inciting the riot, and that they aided and abetted violent rioters and inflicted emotional distress on the members of Congress.
“The Defendants, in short, convinced the mob that something was occurring that — if actually true — might indeed justify violence, and then sent that mob to the Capitol with violence-laced calls for immediate action,” the lawsuit, in Washington, DC’s federal District Court, alleges.
The lawsuits will unfurl as Trump faces mounting pressures in investigations by House committees that seek his financial records, as well as in criminal probes related to his private business and his post-election actions. He has not been charged with any crime.
Friday’s suit could bump up against free speech protections for speakers at the rally, as well as immunity Trump could try to claim he had while serving as president. All of the elected officials in the lawsuit, including Trump, are named in their personal capacities in court, meaning they would use private lawyers and not be shielded by their public offices.
But should either this suit or Thompson’s proceed, it would mean the former President and his allies would be subject to discovery and depositions, potentially exposing details and evidence that weren’t released during the Senate impeachment trial.
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