Justice Department acting ‘as if’ Ashli Babbitt caused Jan. 6 deaths: court filing

The legal watchdog group suing the federal government for the “wrongful” death of Jan. 6 protester Ashli Babbitt has charged that the Biden administration is acting “as if” she caused other deaths related to the election riots at the Capitol.

In a new court filing, Washington-based Judicial Watch said that the Justice Department has responded to its $30 million suit by attacking Babbitt, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran killed by a U.S. Capitol Police officer as she entered the House Speaker’s Lobby just feet from the House floor at the height of the riot Jan. 6, 2021.

Judicial Watch said that in trying to move the case from Babbitt’s home in San Diego, California, to Washington, D.C., Justice is trying to find a friendlier court and jury and tie her to the government’s claim that 140 police were injured in the brawls and three later died from their involvement.

In a 20-page filing, Judicial Watch said:

“Defendant’s position [to transfer venue] illustrates and underscores the prejudice and injustice that Plaintiffs would face if venue were transferred to the District of Columbia. Defendant mentions 80 Capitol Police officers and 60 Metropolitan Police officers that were injured and connects the deaths of three officers to the events on that day, thus connecting Ashli Babbitt to these deaths and other injuries, as if she caused them. The request for a change in venue is clearly influenced by defendant’s strongest motivation for changing venue, which is to select the forum where it feels it would receive a favorable process and outcome based on adversity against January 6 participants. By its motion, defendant hopes to unfairly and unjustly connect Ashli Babbitt to violence, injuries, and deaths for which she is blameless and connect her by association to thousands of individuals convicted of misdemeanors and felonies for which she was never charged and is unable to present a defense due to the lawless actions of one of defendant’s employees in shooting and killing her.”

Judicial Watch, which filed the case on behalf of Babbitt’s husband and family, argued that the case should stay in San Diego.

It made two key points. First, it said that the law should favor those filing suits and not bow to claims of inconvenience made by Justice.

Second, it said that Washington judges and juries are biased against anybody involved in the riots. Several key defense lawyers have made similar claims. And Judicial Watch quoted a Washington federal judge in other cases who said the killing of unarmed Babbitt was justified.

“Well, she shouldn’t have been coming through the window,” and “this man who was protecting the Capitol ends up being called a thug … that is just mind-boggling,” said Judge Reggie B. Walton, according to the filing.

In a statement shared with Secrets, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “Let’s be blunt, the Biden DOJ wants to move the Ashli Babbitt wrongful death lawsuit to D.C. because it knows the courts here are notoriously hostile to anyone tied to the January 6 protests.”


Babbitt was shot dead by then-Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd as she attempted to crawl through the broken glass of the swinging door to the Speaker’s Lobby in the large protest of pro-Trump supporters angry Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s victory that day. Videos show that she was unarmed and had her hands in the air as she was pushed in.

Byrd was never punished.

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