Legal experts say the U.S. Department of Justice may decide it must defend a Republican congressman from a civil lawsuit over the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, after that representative asked a court to find he was acting in his official capacity when he contested the 2020 election results.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, last week asked a federal judge to certify he was acting in the scope of his duties as a government employee when he tweeted against last year’s election results and spoke at a rally by the White House on Jan. 6. Brooks argues that, under federal law, he should be dropped from the lawsuit filed by fellow Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, or the United States must replace him as a defendant, meaning DOJ would effectively defend him in the case.