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Rep. Eric Swalwell sues Donald Trump, 3 others for inciting Capitol attack

Then-President Donald Trump appears at the Save America March in front of the White House, on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., on January 6. After the rally, hundreds of supporters marched to the Capitol and broke into the building. File Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI/Pool
Then-President Donald Trump appears at the "Save America March" in front of the White House, on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., on January 6. After the rally, hundreds of supporters marched to the Capitol and broke into the building. File Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI/Pool | License Photo

March 5 (UPI) -- Rep. Eric Swalwell of California filed a civil lawsuit Friday against former President Donald Trump and three others whom he says incited the attack on the U.S. Capitol two months ago.

In the federal suit, Swalwell blames the former president, Donald Trump Jr., attorney Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., for urging a crowd that attended Trump's "Save America" rally near the White House on the day of the attack to march over to the Capitol and storm the building while lawmakers were certifying President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

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Swalwell, who was a House manager at Trump's Senate impeachment trial, filed his 65-page complaint in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and notes that he's suing both Trump and Brooks in a private capacity.

"The defendants filed frivolous lawsuits [to overturn the 2020 election], all of which failed," the complaint states. "[They] tried to intimidate state officials, none of whom caved to the pressure. Out of options and out of time, the defendants called their supporters to Washington, D.C., on the day Congress met to certify Joe Biden's win, telling them to 'Stop the Steal' and 'be wild.'

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"Thousands came to the District in response. Some planned violence at the Capitol in advance; some were stirred to violence by the defendants' words on that day."

Swalwell said Trump repeatedly promoted the Jan. 6 rally online and urged followers, as did the other three, with inflammatory language to go to the Capitol.

At the rally, Giuliani told the crowd, "Let's have trial by combat," while Brooks asked supporters if they were ready for a fight and said, "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass."

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"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," Swalwell's suit says.

Swalwell says in his suit that Giuliani, a close Trump adviser, conspired with the other defendants to undermine the election results by claiming it was rigged and tried to pressure elected officials, the courts and Congress.

The lawsuit is the second to be filed against Trump for the insurrection by a sitting member of Congress. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., filed a complaint in which the NAACP said Trump violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 with his conduct related to the rally and the riot.

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Trump spokesman Jason Miller called Swalwell's lawsuit "another witch hunt."

The Senate ultimately acquitted Trump of the single impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection. A majority of senators, 57, voted to convict, but a group of 43 Republican senators carried the verdict by denying the 67-vote threshold needed for a conviction. Trump's impeachment was his second, which is more than any other president has been found guilty of a crime by the House.

Swalwell made a brief run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination before dropping out in mid-2019.

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