U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks said in a petition filed Friday in federal court that he was simply acting in his duties as Alabama's 5th Congressional District representative when he gave a speech Jan. 6 ahead of the U.S. Capitol riot.
Additionally, Brooks said, he wouldn't have given the speech at all had it not been for the White House, which is why he believes he should be dismissed as a defendant in the lawsuit against him and the U.S. government should be named in his place.
"The little amount of Brooks' conduct that is specifically and accurately alleged in (U.S. Rep. Eric) Swalwell's Complaint was primarily motivated by: Brooks' desire to represent the will of the citizens of Alabama's 5th Congressional District ... and Brooks' oath of office to the Constitution, and, hence, the laws of the United States of America," Brooks said in the filing.
Swalwell filed the lawsuit in March against Brooks, President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani, alleging their actions led to the Capitol insurrection. Brooks told the crowd at a pro-Trump rally before the riot that "today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass."
However, Brooks has maintained that he only meant to fire up the crowd for the next election cycle. He included a copy of his speech in the document filed Friday, saying he only gave the speech "because the White House asked him to, in his capacity as a United States Congressman."
"But for the White House request, Brooks would not have appeared at the Ellipse Rally," Brooks continued.
With that in mind, Brooks believes he was acting in his official capacity as a federal employee and thus cannot be sued.
"It is Brooks' judgment that a majority or plurality of Alabama 5th Congressional District citizens strongly support Brooks' conduct concerning the few matters specifically and accurately alleged in Swalwell's Complaint," Brooks said.
While many have focused on the "taking down names and kicking ass" portion of Brooks' speech, Brooks noted several other portions of his speech, including "a message that I need you to take to your heart, and take back home, and along the way stop at the Capitol." That message, he said, is to chant "USA," "Washington" and "America" — words that he said "scare the hell out of Socialists and weak-kneed Republicans alike."
He ended his speech by saying listeners should "heed those words, because we're going to carry them right to you. USA! God bless America; and the fight begins today!"
However, he said the "fight" was meant to reference voting in upcoming elections, not the fighting that followed between insurrectionists and others at the U.S. Capitol. In the copy of the speech provided in the motion, Brooks tells listeners of how ancestors "sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history" and asked if they would be willing to do the same before telling them that he would.
Six people, including one of his constituents, died in the U.S. Capitol riot that followed the rally. Brooks has repeatedly stated that nothing he said should be taken as something that would have incited violence or rioting against Congress people. Instead, where ancestors had sacrificed blood, sweat and tears, he wanted citizens and patriots to get out and vote during the next election.
"America does not need and cannot stand, cannot tolerate any more weakling, cowering, wimpy Republican Congressmen and Senators who covet the power and prestige the swamp has to offer, while groveling at the feet and the knees of their special interest group masters," Brooks said in the Jan. 6 speech.
Brooks has represented Alabama's 5th Congressional District, which includes all of Limestone County, since January 2011. He announced his bid for U.S. Senate as a representative for all of Alabama in March.
Trump has already endorsed Brooks and even voiced a radio ad for Brooks that began airing over the Fourth of July weekend. Meanwhile, Brooks has remained an avid supporter of the former president and continues to assert that Trump should have won the 2020 election.