U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks lashed out Thursday at a Democratic congressman who claimed in a court filing that he has been unable to serve court papers on Brooks and on media reports suggesting Brooks was dodging service of the complaint that accuses him of encouraging the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
"Pure, unadulterated bovine excrement," Brooks, R-Huntsville, said in a text Thursday.
In a motion filed Wednesday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said Brooks had refused to waive service, while his three co-defendants — Rudolph Giuliani, Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. — had all agreed to waive service. A defendant who waives personal service can accept a mailed or emailed copy of the complaint.
Swalwell said Brooks' refusal to waive service came despite his knowledge of the lawsuit, as indicated in a tweet Brooks posted hours after the complaint was filed that called it a "meritless ploy." Swalwell said his lawyer has contacted Brooks' staff numerous times, and emailed the complaint to Brooks' staff, but has received no response.
Brooks on Thursday, quoting from a text he sent to another media outlet, said "it is the plaintiff's job to serve a lawsuit on a defendant, not the other way around."
He said he has made no effort to dodge service of the complaint.
"I have altered my conduct not one iota since Swalwell's politically motivated, meritless lawsuit was filed," Brooks wrote.
Brooks said he has made dozens of public appearances since the lawsuit was filed and that he has voted on the House floor more than 100 times since being sued March 5.
"If Swalwell was sincere about suit service, he could have served me at any of these public events,” Brooks wrote.
Swalwell said in his motion that he hired a private investigator to personally serve Brooks, but limited access to the Capitol grounds and to Brooks' office in the Rayburn House Office Building since the riot have complicated the effort.
"Plaintiff's investigator has spent many hours over many days in April and May at locations in multiple jurisdictions attempting to locate Brooks, to no avail," according to the motion.
Judge Amit Mehta granted Swalwell an additional 60 days to serve the complaint on Brooks, but denied Swalwell's request that a U.S. marshal be appointed to serve the complaint "due to separation of powers concerns."
Two days after the suit was filed in March, Brooks announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Richard Shelby, who announced he will not seek reelection.
Brooks said Swalwell “is wrong to seek to use federal property and federal employees — my staff — for his personal and political gain, which is what his lawsuit is about.”
Swalwell’s Washington office did not return a call Thursday seeking comment on Brooks' claims.
The allegations in Swalwell's complaint regarding Brooks focus on statements he made after the Nov. 4 presidential election questioning its validity and specifically claiming that Joe Biden "did not win lawful majority in Georgia." The complaint also highlights a speech Brooks gave to Trump supporters before a crowd broke into the Capitol building.
“Brooks ... conspired with the other defendants to undermine the election results by alleging, without evidence, that the election had been rigged and by pressuring elected officials, courts and ultimately Congress to reject the results," according to the complaint. “Brooks also promoted and spoke at the Jan. 6 rally. Brooks addressed the crowd at this event and directly incited the violence at the Capitol that followed.”
Swalwell alleged that because of Brooks’ and the other defendants' encouragement for action by Trump supporters at the rally, “many members of Congress, including the plaintiff, were trapped in the House chamber as plainclothes officers barricaded doors and held off the mob at gunpoint. Fearing for their lives, the plaintiff and others masked their identities as members of Congress, texted loved ones in case the worst happened, and took shelter throughout the Capitol complex.”
The suit claims the workers and officials in the Capitol were “put in mortal danger, and as the seat of American Democracy was desecrated by the insurgent mob, the defendants watched the events unfold on live television.”
Swalwell’s suit states the defendants’ actions on Jan. 6 were aimed at preventing Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.