In an ongoing dispute over the lack of transparency surrounding the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt during the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, watchdog group Judicial Watch has taken legal action against the Justice Department. The organization filed a lawsuit on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, claiming that the FBI has twice denied Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for any files related to the incident.
Ashli Babbitt, a United States Air Force veteran, was fatally shot during the Capitol riot as she attempted to enter the House Speaker’s Lobby unarmed. The incident occurred amidst the chaos surrounding the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump.
“A watchdog group is escalating its battle with the Justice Department over the FBI's refusal to turn over files on Ashli Babbitt, the United States Air Force veteran shot and killed during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot over the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory… pic.twitter.com/PKT9jPCbbG— bobbld (@bobbld_eth) February 4, 2024
Judicial Watch, working in collaboration with Aaron Babbitt, the widower and executor of Ashli’s estate, is seeking to obtain all available information the government possesses on the Babbitts. The watchdog group and Aaron Babbitt recently joined forces in filing a $30 million wrongful death suit against the government, emphasizing their commitment to seeking justice for Ashli.
“Judicial Watch and our supporters are honored to represent Ashli’s steadfast widower Aaron Babbitt and her estate in this legal action. Ashli was shot in cold blood, and the rule of law requires justice for her,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton when filing the lawsuit on January 4.
Judicial Watch, claiming the FBI is engaged in a "cover-up" in the death of Ashli Babbitt, the U.S. Air Force veteran who was killed during the Jan. 6, 2021, breach at the Capitol, has filed a lawsuit demanding the agency turn over any files about her. https://t.co/Lib2nHl6Tx pic.twitter.com/F90NB3Cdll— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) February 3, 2024
The FOIA lawsuit alleges that not only has the FBI refused to comply with two demands for files, but it has also rebuffed the Office of Information Policy within the Justice Department, an office that advocates for FOIA compliance.
Fitton expressed frustration, questioning the motives behind the FBI’s lack of cooperation, saying, “Ashli Babbitt was the only homicide victim on Jan. 6, yet the FBI has been illicitly hiding its files on Ashli Babbitt from her family for a year. Why the cover-up?”
In the wrongful death suit, a new camera angle of the shooting was provided, showing an unarmed Ashli Babbitt being shot by then-U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd as she was pushed into the House Speaker’s Lobby. The lawsuit details the agony Ashli experienced after being shot, disputing claims that the gunshot wound should have resulted in immediate death.
Lt. Michael Byrd, who later justified the shooting as a “last resort,” was subsequently promoted to captain. The unfolding legal battle between Judicial Watch and the Justice Department continues, with growing public interest in the pursuit of justice for Ashli Babbitt.
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