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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Judicial Watch Sues FBI for Files on Ashli Babbitt – Family Demands Records

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on behalf of Aaron Babbitt, the late Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt’s husband, and Ashli Babbitt’s estate against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for all FBI files on Ashli Babbitt (Estate of Ashli Babbitt and Aaron Babbitt et al. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 24-cv-00119)). Ashli Babbitt, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was shot and killed inside the U.S. Capitol by then-Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd on January 6, 2021.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California to compel production of the FBI files on Ashli Babbitt and Aaron Babbitt after the FBI denied two February 27, 2023, FOIA requests to the FBI and subsequently failed to respond to an appeal of the denial for:

All FBI files for Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt. Additional information: “Subject also used the names” Ashli Elizabeth McEntee and Ashli Elizabeth Pamatian;” and

All FBI records, including main and cross-referenced files, related to Aaron Raymond Babbitt.

Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was a 35-year-old resident of San Diego, California, where she owned and operated a successful pool business with her husband Aaron. Ashli traveled alone from San Diego to Washington, D.C. to attend the Women for America First (aka Save America) rally on January 6, 2021, at the Ellipse. The shooting occurred at the east entrance to the Speaker’s Lobby. After demonstrators filled the hallway outside the lobby, two individuals in the crowded, tightly packed hallway struck and dislodged the glass panels in the lobby doors and the right door sidelight. Lt. Byrd, who is a US Capitol Police commander and was the incident commander for the House on January 6, 2021, shot Ashli on sight as she raised herself up into the opening of the right door sidelight. Lt. Byrd later confessed that he shot Ashli before seeing her hands or assessing her intentions or even identifying her as female. Ashli was unarmed. Her hands were up in the air, empty, and in plain view of Lt. Byrd and other officers in the lobby.

On January 5, 2024, Judicial Watch filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. Government on behalf of the family of Ashli Babbitt (Estate of Ashli Babbitt and Aaron Babbitt, et al. v. United States of America (No. 3:24-cv-00033)). The lawsuit includes $30 million in claims against the U.S. Government for wrongful death, assault and battery, and various negligence issues. Describing Babbitt’s murder by Lt. Byrd, the Judicial Watch complaint recounts:

The facts speak truth. Ashli was ambushed when she was shot by Lt. Byrd. Multiple witnesses at the scene yelled, “you just murdered her.”

Lt. Byrd was never charged or otherwise punished or disciplined for Ashli’s homicide.

“Ashli Babbit was the only homicide victim on January 6, yet the FBI has been illicitly hiding its files on Ashli Babbitt from her family for a year,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Why the cover-up?”

Judicial Watch is extensively investigating the events of January 6.

In October 2023, Judicial Watch announced that it received the court-ordered declaration of James W. Joyce, senior counsel in the Office of the General Counsel for the Capitol Police, in which he describes emails among senior officials of the United States Capitol Police (USCP) in January 2021 that show warnings of possible January 6 protests that could lead to serious disruptions at the U.S. Capitol.

In September, it received records from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, a component of the Department of Justice, in a FOIA lawsuit that detail the extensive apparatus the Biden Justice Department set up to investigate and prosecute January 6 protestors.

A previous review of records from that lawsuit highlighted the prosecution declination memorandum justifying the decision not to prosecute U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd for the shooting death of Babbitt.

In January 2023, documents from the Department of the Air Force, Joint Base Andrews, MD, showed U.S. Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd was housed at taxpayer expense at Joint Base Andrews after he shot and killed U.S. Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

In November 2021, Judicial Watch released multiple audio, visual and photo records from the DC Metropolitan Police Department about the shooting death of Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building. The records included a cell phone video of the shooting and an audio of a brief police interview of the shooter, Byrd.

In October 2021, United States Park Police records related to the January 6, 2021, demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol showed that on the day before the January 6 rally featuring President Trump, U.S. Park Police expected a “large portion” of the attendees to march to the U.S. Capitol and that the FBI was monitoring the January 6 demonstrations, including travel to the events by “subjects of interest.”

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