Doug Mastriano’s Latest Attempt to Avoid the Jan. 6 Committee: He’s Suing Them

State Sen. Doug Mastriano and former state Rep. Rick Saccone, outside the US Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021 (Facebook screen grab).

By Patrick Berkery

September 2, 2022

Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial candidate has filed suit against the Jan. 6 committee, contesting its legal ability to force him to sit for a deposition.

It took months and plenty of legal wrangling for Doug Mastriano to finally agree to sit down and speak with the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. When he finally did, he refused to answer any questions and walked out of the deposition after just 15 minutes.

Now, a new twist in Mastriano’s attempts to evade questioning about his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 insurrection: Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial candidate has filed suit against the Jan. 6 committee, contesting its legal ability to force him to sit for a deposition.

The suit, filed Thursday, names the committee itself as a defendant, along with the individual members of the panel and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The suit contends that a properly appointed ranking minority member is necessary for a witness to have access to protections provided in House rules on deposition authority. Since House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-Calif.), has no appointees on the committee, it does not comply with House rules for conducting a compelled deposition of witnesses.

Mastriano is also asking to be compensated for his legal fees, according to Politico.

A committee spokesperson declined comment on the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington.

Mastriano’s lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, maintains his client is willing to voluntarily testify publicly before the committee and has told the FBI that he didn’t know about a planned insurrection or any coordination behind the attack on the Capitol. One of Parlatore’s main points of contention has been that he wants permission to make his own recording of any deposition, for fear that the Jan. 6 committee will deceptively edit interview footage. That concern is raised in the lawsuit.

The committee has legitimate reasons for wanting to speak with Mastriano. Based on evidence, Mastriano has good reason to want to avoid sitting for an interview with them. 

As a state Senator from Franklin County, Mastriano organized bus trips to the Trump rally that led to the deadly riot in Washington, and he was in regular communication with Donald Trump as the then-president sought to reverse his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. He attended the rally and was on Capitol grounds when rioters breached barricades and entered the building.

In a July New York Times story, Mastriano was identified as the “point person” in the fake elector scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Pennsylvania.

He has a lot to answer for. And he’s doing what he can to not have to answer to any of it.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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