Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California is suing former President Donald Trump and his allies over the Capitol riot. Swalwell claims that the unrest in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 caused him to suffer from "severe emotional distress."
The civil lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Washington, alleges that Trump and his allies are "responsible for the injury and destruction" from the riot at the U.S. Capitol. The suit targets Trump, his personal attorney Rudy Guiliani, Donald Trump Jr., and Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama for their alleged roles in January's violence at the Capitol.
"Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., his advisor Rudy Giuliani, and Congressman Mo Brooks, together with many others, defiled that sacrament through a campaign of lies and incendiary rhetoric, which led to the sacking of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021," the lawsuit reads.
The 65-page complaint claims that the defendants engaged in "conspiracy to violate civil rights," "neglect to prevent interference with civil rights," "incitement to riot," "inciting assault," "disorderly conduct," and "terrorism."
"In claiming for weeks that President Biden's victory was in fact the largest act of fraud in American history; in seeing that some of Trump's supporters were willing to engage in violence in response to such claims; and in using highly inflammatory language in repeating the false claims of fraud at the rally before sending the crowd to the Capitol, the Defendants at a minimum acted negligently," the complaint alleges.
The suit alleges that the defendants "by force, intimidation, or threat, agreed and conspired among themselves and with others to prevent members of Congress, including the Plaintiff, and Vice President Mike Pence from counting the Electoral College Votes and certifying President Biden and Vice President Harris as the winners of the 2020 presidential election."
The lawsuit also sues all four defendants for "infliction of emotional distress" over the Capitol riot.
"Defendants intentionally, or at a minimum recklessly, caused the severe emotional distress suffered by the Plaintiff in connection with the January 6 attack," the complaint states. "Defendants are furthermore vicariously liable for, and aided and abetted, the rioters' negligent infliction of emotional distress upon the Plaintiff."
The lawsuit claims that Swalwell "took off his jacket and tie" to prepare to engage in a physical altercation against the crowd who had infiltrated the Capitol building.
"The Plaintiff prepared himself for possible hand-to-hand combat as he took off his jacket and tie and searched for makeshift instruments of self-defense," the lawsuit claims. "He listened in shock as the House Chaplain — a veteran of war herself — began praying for the members from the Rostrum. As the Plaintiff watched this horror unfold, he texted with his wife in what he felt could be his last moments, telling her 'I love you very much. And our babies.'"
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages against the defendants, including punitive damages.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller told Reuters that Swalwell "is a low-life with no credibility."
Swalwell served as one of the impeachment managers prosecuting Trump, who argued that the former president incited violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The Senate voted to acquit Trump on Feb. 13.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, filed a lawsuit last month against Trump, Giuliani, the Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers over for allegedly conspiring to incite the Capitol riots.