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Alabama Congressman may not face January 6th lawsuit

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A federal judge is indicating he will dismiss a lawsuit against Alabama U.S. Representative Mo Brooks. The GOP lawmaker was sued by fellow Congressman Eric Swalwell for allegedly inciting violence with his speech at a rally before the January 6 Capitol attack.

Judge Amit Mehta, in a 112 page ruling, said Brooks comments were protected political speech and he would grant a motion to dismiss if Brooks’ attorneys asked. Two other defendants listed in the lawsuit, Donald Trump Jr. and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani were also dismissed.

The results of Judge Mehta’s ruling were less favorable for former President Donald Trump.

The court rejected efforts by former President Donald Trump to toss out lawsuits filed by lawmakers and two Capitol Police officers that claim his actions led to the January 6th insurrection. Judge Mehta said Trump's words during a rally before the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol were "plausibly words of incitement not protected by the First Amendment." Trump had told his supporters to "Fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

The January 6 Capitol attack happened as an attempt to halt the certification of President Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election. During the insurrection, five people were killed, including a Capitol police officer. Four Capitol officers have taken their own lives since the attack. The attack also led to Trump’s second impeachment and over 700 people charged nationwide. President Biden said the nation is in “a battle for the soul of America” as he criticized Trump’s response to the Capitol attack.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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