Private investigator describes how he followed Rep. Mo Brooks’ wife into her garage to serve a lawsuit tied to the Capitol riot

The private investigator hired by Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell to serve a civil lawsuit against Republican Rep. Mo Brooks related to the US Capitol insurrection has described, for the first time, the tense situation that unfolded at Brooks’ home when he handed over the legal papers.

The lawsuit was filed in March by Swalwell, a California Democrat and fierce critic of former President Donald Trump. The suit attempts to hold Brooks, Trump, and other Republicans civilly responsible for the January 6 insurrection. Brooks was named in the lawsuit for, among other reasons, telling Trump supporters at a rally before the riot that they should start “kicking a–.”

A controversy erupted over the process of serving Brooks with the lawsuit — handing over the paperwork notifying him that he was sued. This is typically a procedural formality, and occurs with little fanfare. But Swalwell told the court that he needed to hire a private investigator to track Brooks down, and Brooks claimed that laws were broken when the suit was finally served.

CNN is unable to corroborate Brooks’ claim that Swalwell’s team committed a crime, and Swalwell attorney Philip Andonian pushed back on these allegations. He previously told CNN: “No one entered or even attempted to enter the Brooks’ house. That allegation is completely untrue. A process server lawfully served the papers on Mo Brooks’ wife, as the federal rules allow.”

In a sworn affidavit filed on Tuesday, private investigator Christian Seklecki said he knocked on the front door of Brooks’ home in Alabama on Sunday. There was no response, so he waited nearby, until Brooks’ wife arrived in her car and drove into the family’s garage, Seklecki said.

“I followed and also drove down the driveway,” he said. “When I stopped my car at the bottom of the hill, the Toyota Highlander was parked in a parking garage and the parking garage door was open. I got out of my car and walked to the driver’s side door of the Toyota Highlander.”

Brooks’ wife Martha Brooke then opened the door, Seklecki said in the court filing.

“I extended the papers towards the woman for her to accept and said, ‘Mrs. Brooks, I am serving you with legal paperwork. This is for your husband, Mo Brooks,’” Seklecki continued. “…She did not answer but yelled at me to leave and told me that she is calling the police.”

For a brief moment, Seklecki said he was blocked from leaving the Brooks’ home.

“I was unable to immediately leave because MARTHA BROOKS walked around to the rear of my car, ostensibly to note my license plate, and reversing back up the driveway was the only way to leave,” Seklecki said, explaining that he left the driveway after “five or six seconds.”

The affidavit largely corroborates home security camera footage that Brooks tweeted Monday. The footage didn’t contain audio but showed Seklecki briefly stepping into the garage, before Martha Brooks chases him back into his car. In an earlier tweet, Brooks claimed Swalwell’s private investigator was caught “unlawfully sneaking INTO MY HOUSE & accosting my wife!”

The entire encounter — from Seklecki exiting his car to serve the papers, until he started driving away — lasted less than 40 seconds, according to the footage Brooks posed. The footage, as well as the explanation of what happened in Seklecki’s affidavit, depict a rather ordinary example of someone serving a lawsuit, and not the harrowing episode that Brooks’ portrayed in his tweets.

The civil lawsuit, which is still in its early stages, accuses Trump, his longtime attorney Rudy Giuliani, his son Donald Trump Jr., and Brooks of violating anti-terrorism laws in Washington, DC, by inciting the Capitol riot. All of these figures have denied responsibility for the attack.

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