Sydney Powell’s defense in the $1.3 billion Dominion lawsuit may be used against her in Michigan sanctions effort

Sidney Powell
Sidney Powell. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

  • Michigan’s attorney general said Powell made “stunning admissions” in the Dominion lawsuit.
  • The state said those admissions should be further reason to sanction Powell.
  • Powell and others are facing defamation lawsuits for claims made about 2020 election fraud.
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Sidney Powell‘s defense in the $1.3 billion Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit is being used against her in a court case over unsubstantiated claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential race.

Powell, an attorney who became widely known after filing multiple lawsuits and floating conspiracy theories about 2020 election fraud, claimed “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact” in her defense against a defamation lawsuit brought by election-technology company Dominion.

Now, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says Powell’s statement is another reason a federal court should approve sanctions against her, Forbes first reported, citing a legal filing.

Powell “made a series of stunning admissions,” in the Dominion lawsuit that addressed statements about election fraud, “many of which also were made to this Court,” the filing said.

Nessel asked a federal court in January to sanction Powell and three other attorneys over a lawsuit in Michigan that requested the state overturn its elections results, claiming fraud in President Joe Biden’s defeat of former President Donald Trump.

In her filing to the federal court this week, Nessel said Powell’s defense in the Dominion lawsuit proves that the attorney’s behavior “warrants sanctions because it unreasonably multiplied the proceedings in this case and abused the judicial process.”

Powell did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Read more: Trump-ally media outlet OAN quietly deleted articles about Dominion despite publicly doubling down on election conspiracy theories

Powell, who was hired and then fired by former President Trump, claimed Dominion and Smartmatic, which is also suing her, used their voting machines to falsify votes in the 2020 presidential election.

Her law firm filed lawsuits regarding 2020 election fraud in Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin, all of which lost in court.

Powell isn’t the only one facing legal repercussions for claims made about the 2020 election. Former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Fox News, and MyPillow Chief Executive Officer Mike Lindell are also facing defamation lawsuits from the election-technology companies.

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Biden administration sets the stage for retaliation against Russia over SolarWinds, election interference: report

President Joe Biden

  • The Biden administration finished an intelligence report on alleged Russian meddling, Bloomberg reported.
  • The review could lead to retaliatory action against Russia over the SolarWinds hack and election interference, according to the report.
  • Last month, Biden announced sanctions against Russian officials over the treatment of Putin critic Alexei Navalny.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Biden administration completed an intelligence review of alleged Russian meddling in the SolarWinds cybersecurity attack and interference in US elections, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

The review could set the stage for possible retaliatory actions like enacting sanctions or expulsion of Russian intel officers in the US, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Now that the intelligence review is complete, the US could respond by “singling out people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as agencies linked to election interference,” Bloomberg reported.

In January, a joint US intelligence task force issued a rare initial public statement to the SolarWinds hack that it was “likely Russian in nature,” Insider’s Azmi Haroun reported.

Last month, a declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Russia was among the countries that authorized covert influence operations aimed at altering the outcome of the 2020 election, which ended up being unsuccessful, according to Insider’s Sonam Sheth.

Representatives from the White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. A spokesperson for the State Department declined to comment.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the review in a press briefing on January 21, saying it was intended “to hold Russia to account for its reckless and adversarial actions.”

“And to this end, the President is also issuing a tasking to the intelligence community for its full assessment of the SolarWinds cyber breach, Russian interference in the 2020 election, its use of chemical weapons against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the alleged bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan,” Psaki said during the press briefing.

The news of the review comes after President Joe Biden announced sanctions against Russian officials last month over the arrest and alleged poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny, but has not yet acted upon the other three areas Psaki mentioned in January.

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My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell asks if Fox News is ‘in on’ a conspiracy against him, despite being one of the biggest advertisers on the network

mike lindell fox news
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.

  • My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell went after Fox News in a bizarre radio interview.
  • Lindell’s company is one of the most frequent advertisers on the network.
  • The Pillow magnate wondered aloud if they were conspiring against him on election fraud falsehoods.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell turned his ire toward Fox News in a bizarre radio interview on Monday.

Lindell, who has grown increasingly outspoken in the aftermath of the 2020 election as he has pushed blatantly false claims that it was stolen from former President Donald Trump, accused the network of conspiring against him with other nefarious actors.

“I want to say one thing here-here’s things that don’t make sense,” Lindell said, almost shouting after comparing the election to a world war. “Let’s just talk about Fox. You’re already sued! It’s too late to close the gate, the cows are already out of the barn!”

Lindell has framed himself as a crusader seeking to expose what really happened in the 2020 election, telling Insider in February that he is happy to get sued by Dominion Voting Systems and even lose money over his claims of fraud.

In his interview on the “Eric Metaxas Radio Show,” Lindell complained that he’s unable to go on Fox to talk about the “absolute proof” he’s found, despite similar claims made by the Trump legal team falling short in court as they won zero out of 42 cases.

“Why can’t people go on there and say their free speech then?” Lindell continued in the interview. “You’re already sued, Fox. What do you have – are you going to get double sued? What’s the matter with you?”

As Lindell appeared to get more irritated in between listing off all of the social media platforms that have taken action against his accounts for spreading misinformation, he questioned whether Fox News was actually getting sued or if it was a false flag as part of some sort of conspiracy.

“What are they, in on it?” Lindell said. “I don’t get it. Is it a fake lawsuit?”

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Sidney Powell’s defense lawyers say her conspiracy theories about Dominion were way too outlandish to be taken seriously

Sidney Powell
Sidney Powell, then an attorney for President Donald Trump, conducts a news conference at the Republican National Committee on lawsuits regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in November.

  • Sidney Powell moved to dismiss the $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit Dominion filed against her.
  • Her lawyers say no reasonable person would take her claims about Dominion seriously.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Attorneys representing the attorney Sidney Powell filed a motion Monday to dismiss a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, arguing her conspiracy theories about the election-technology company having ties to Venezuela and secretly rigging the 2020 presidential election should not have been taken literally.

“Even [assuming] that each of the statements alleged in the Complaint could be proved true or false, no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact,” Powell’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

Dominion filed its lawsuit against Powell in January, alleging the lawyer defamed the company when she falsely claimed the company secretly switched votes from then-President Donald Trump to now-President Joe Biden.

Powell, an appeals court attorney who also represented Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, became a national figure in November following Trump’s election loss. She denied the reality he lost the election and falsely argued election-technology companies like Dominion and Smartmatic, which also sued Powell, falsified votes.

She was hired and then fired by Trump’s legal team before filing four lawsuits on her own seeking to overturn the election results. Her lawsuits, filled with spelling mistakes and bizarre claims, all failed in court.

Attorneys Lawrence J. Joseph, Howard Kleinhendler, and Jesse R. Binnall filed their response to Dominion’s lawsuit on behalf of Powell and Defending the Republic, a fundraising vehicle she set up while promoting her failed lawsuits.

They argued Powell’s statements should be taken in the context of the highly charged election, even though Trump had already lost the election at that point, and that any “reasonable person” would understand she wasn’t making factual claims, even though she had made her claims in lawsuits in addition to media appearances.

“Notably, one of the focal points of the Complaint is the press conference held by Sidney Powell and others on November 19, 2020 at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.,” the attorneys wrote. “Obviously, any press conference originating from the Republican National Committee is political to its core.”

sidney powell
Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell.

Powell’s attorneys say the fact that Dominion refers to Powell’s claims as outlandish indicates they should have never been taken seriously in the first place.

“Indeed, Plaintiffs themselves characterize the statements at issue as ‘wild accusations’ and ‘outlandish claims.’ They are repeatedly labelled ‘inherently improbable’ and even impossible,'” Powell’s attorneys wrote. “Such characterizations of the allegedly defamatory statements further support Defendants’ position that reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts through the adversary process.”

Powell doubled down on her conspiracy theories more than a month after the election results were settled. After Dominion sent her document retention letters warning of a lawsuit, she called the company “fraud masters” on Twitter.

Powell has steadfastly refused to retract her claims about the company and has not responded to Insider’s repeated requests for comment.

The new filing does not address many of the points in Dominion’s original lawsuit, including that Powell submitted modified documentation about the company’s certificate to provide election technology in Georgia. Legal ethics experts told Insider Powell could face sanctions if she’s found to have modified court exhibits.

A litany of legal challenges await Powell after her failed election lawsuits. In addition to the defamation lawsuits from Dominion and Smartmatic, officials in Michigan are seeking to disbar her and the attorneys who worked with her.

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Postal Service finds ‘no evidence’ of Project Veritas’ claim that mail workers tampered with ballots in the 2020 election

james o keefe project veritas cpac
James O’Keefe, President of Project Veritas, in February.

  • The Postal Service released a report into claims that employees tampered with Pennsylvania ballots.
  • They found “no evidence” for the accusations, first brought by Project Veritas.
  • Investigators reviewed the ballots and found no indications of tampering.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Federal investigators looked into accusations from Project Veritas that Pennsylvania postal workers tampered with mail-in ballots and found that the claims were false.

The findings came in a little-noticed February 26 report from the US Postal Service Office of Inspector General. The report drew widespread attention after being posted by the website 21st Century Postal Worker earlier this week.

The investigation was initially launched after Project Veritas, a far-right political operation seeking to undermine media outlets and tech companies, produced an affidavit from a “whistleblower” postal worker, Richard Hopkins, in November.

Hopkins claimed that he overheard other postal service employees in Erie County, Pennsylvania, backdating ballots that arrived in the mail. In the 2020 election, Pennsylvania counted only mail-in ballots sent by Election Day on November 3.

Hopkins recanted the affidavit he signed days later. A video obtained by Insider’s Charles Davis showed that Hopkins had other people in the room as he swore to the affidavit over Zoom.

The Inspector General report said Hopkins admitted he never actually heard other employees talking about backdating ballots in the first place.

“[Hopkins] revised his claims, eventually stating that he had not heard a conversation about ballots at all – rather he saw the Postmaster and Supervisor having a discussion and assumed it was about fraudulent ballot backdating,” the report says. “[Hopkins] acknowledged that he had no evidence of any backdated presidential ballots.”

The fake story was widely cited by Republicans as a reason to doubt the results of the presidential election. Then-President Donald Trump pushed the claims on his now-suspended Twitter account. Sen. Lindsay Graham used it as a basis to request that the Justice Department investigate the election results.

Now-President Joe Biden won the state of Pennsylvania by more than 81,000 votes in the election, and there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud. The highest-profile case of voter fraud in Pennsylvania is from a man who pretended to be his dead mother to cast an additional vote for Trump in a county he lost anyway.

OIG investigators also said they reviewed all the ballots in the post office where Hopkins worked that were postmarked November 3 and later and did not find any evidence of tampering.

“The physical examination of ballots produced no evidence of any backdated presidential election ballots at the Erie, PA Post Office,” the report said.

Investigators also interviewed several other officials in the post office. None of them said they saw any evidence of backdated ballots, the report said.

The OIG report is yet another failure for Project Veritas, run by the conservative activist James O’Keefe. The organization is known for a series of high-profile “sting operations.” Also in 2020, it released a video that baselessly attempted to link Rep. Ilhan Omar to voter fraud. O’Keefe didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Project Veritas is perhaps best known for attempting to plant false sexual misconduct allegations against 2017 Republican US Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama. The Washington Post discovered the operation and published a story about how Veritas pushes its falsehoods. The Post won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for that story and others about Moore’s real-life sexual misconduct allegations.

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