On Jan. 6 Rep. Mo Brooks was full of swagger and bravado as he whipped up the crowd at the “Stop the Steal” rally. The Alabama Republican declared, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” then asked the rally attendees if they were willing to fight. Now, not so much.
Ever since early March, when Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) filed a lawsuit against him for helping incite the deadly insurrectionist riot at the U.S. Capitol, Brooks has been desperately avoiding process servers who need to present him with the legal paperwork.
In a court filing on Wednesday Swalwell’s attorneys said they’ve had to go so far as to hire a private investigator to locate and serve Brooks but thus far have been unsuccessful. As a result Federal Judge Amit Mehta gave the congressman’s legal team an additional 60 days to present Brooks with their formal notification of the lawsuit.
As they’re required to do, Swalwell’s attorney call Brooks’ office and send him a letter to provide notice that he had been sued, but physical service of the lawsuit has been hampered in part by the visitor lockdown around Capitol Hill that went into effect after the January riot. In their court filing the attorney indicated, “Counsel spoke to two different staff members on two separate occasions and each time was promised a return call that never came.” They emailed as well, but have yet to receive a response.
“Plaintiff had to engage the services of a private investigator to attempt to serve Brooks personally — a difficult feat under normal circumstances that has been complicated further in the wake of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol that Defendants incited,” Swalwell’s court filing continued. “Plaintiff’s investigator has spent many hours over many days in April and May at locations in multiple jurisdictions attempting to locate and serve Brooks, to no avail.”
Once the House reconvenes – and if Brooks and Swalwell are in the chamber at the same time – it may actually be possible for the California congressman to serve the papers himself.
In addition to Brooks, Swalwell’s lawsuit alleges that twice-impeached former president Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani broke Washington, D.C.’s 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 Trumps and Giuliani have the court to dismiss the suit.