Rep. Eric Swalwell speaks from his desk in the House.

Eric Swalwell Sues Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, Brooks Responds by Accidentally Posting His Gmail Password Online

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California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell has filed lawsuits against Donald Trump, Don Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and others over the roles he says they played in inciting the January 6th Capitol insurrection. But he’s had trouble filing suit against one of his would-be defendants: Republican Rep. Mo Brooks.

Swalwell says that Brooks has been hiding from him for months. He finally had to hire a private investigator to track Brooks down and serve him with the lawsuit. (Brooks denied that he’d been avoiding Swalwell but didn’t explain why it was so hard to find him then.) That investigator was finally able to deliver the official papers to Brooks’ wife in their home, and Brooks is pissed.

The Republican lawmaker took to Twitter to accuse Swalwell of committing a crime by serving the complaint to his wife. Brooks said that the Democrat’s team trespassed in his house, “accosting” his wife in the process. (Swalwell’s attorneys deny this, saying the PI didn’t even enter the house, let alone enter illegally.)

To prove his point, Brooks posted a picture of his computer screen open to the Alabama Legislature website, showing the punishment for 1st degree criminal trespass in Alabama. “Year in jail. $6000 fine,” he wrote, adding “More to come!”

As if posting a picture of his computer instead of a screengrab of the page weren’t top-notch Boomer behavior on its own, Brooks outdid himself by forgetting to crop out a note taped to the bottom of his monitor with his Gmail password and a PIN very clearly written out. (Also, don’t keep your passwords taped to your computer in the first place!)

Swalwell’s suit is similar to one filed by Rep. Bennie Thompson earlier this year, which hinges on a post-Civil War provision known as the “Ku Klux Klan Act” that prohibits people and groups from conspiring to keep members of Congress from discharging their official duties.

Swalwell’s suit “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,” according to CNN.

“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 reads.

Trump, Trump Jr., Giuliani, and Brooks all spoke at the rally that preceded the riot on January 6. All of them made comments that could totally reasonably be perceived as encouraging violence against Congress.

At that rally, Brooks told the crowd, “Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” He said he wanted them all to take a message back home and “along the way stop at the Capitol.” He also filed an objection to try to invalidate six of Joe Biden’s electoral votes.

Following the riot, Brooks refused to apologize for his speech, though he did condemn the violence and tried to distance his words from the mob’s actions.

“I was not encouraging anyone to engage in violence. I was encouraging people to begin a 2022 and 2024 election fight,” Brooks wrote in a statement at the time. “No one at the rally interpreted my remarks to be anything other than what they were: A pep talk after the derriere kicking conservatives suffered in the dismal 2020 elections

I don’t know, it sure seems like some people might have interpreted his words differently. Let’s see what the court thinks!

(via CNN, image: JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.