A New York Supreme Court on August 17 will hear arguments from Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Fox Corporation in their bid for the dismissal of a $2.7 billion defamation case brought by Smartmatic.
The election-technology company said in its February complaint that the defendants – including Fox News and hosts Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs – spread disinformation about the November 2020 presidential election.
The arguments are set for 9:30 a.m. in front of Judge David Benjamin Cohen, according to the court.
Giuliani and Powell, lawyers for President Donald Trump, appeared on Fox News following the election to say the election had been rigged by Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems.
The pair “needed to identify a villain” to make their story about election fraud work, Smartmatic said in its complaint.
The complaint said: “They knew of President Trump’s popularity. They knew he had millions of loyal followers. To rile them up, to get them angry, to get them to donate money, Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell needed a villain in their story. They needed someone they could say had rigged and stolen the election from a President admired and adored by millions.”
It added: “Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell settled on two villains: Smartmatic and Dominion.”
Fox News in April sought to dismiss the case, saying its hosts didn’t have a responsibility to fact-check lawyers for a sitting president.
Powell’s lawyers earlier this month said her Fox News spots were “about election integrity” and were not attempts to raise money.
Jason Miller, spokesperson for former President Donald Trump, must pay about $42,000 to G/O Media after a Florida court found that the outlet is not guilty of defamation, court documents show.
Miller accused G/O of defaming him in a report on an allegation made by his former girlfriend AJ Delgado last year in a sealed filing in a custody battle for their son. The report said Miller had given a dancer at a strip club in Florida abortion drugs in a smoothie after getting her pregnant.
He has strenuously denied the allegation and said the story was untrue.
-Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers (@SollenbergerRC) May 22, 2021
G/O, formerly the Gizmodo Media Group, is the parent company of Gizmodo and Jezebel, among other news outlets.
But Miller in 2020 revived the lawsuit, filing an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, court docs show.
In his appeal, Miller argued for confidentiality “to prevent a serious and imminent threat to the fair, impartial, and orderly administration of justice,” to “avoid substantial injury to innocent third parties,” to “avoid substantial injury to a party by disclosure of matters protected by a common law or privacy right not generally inherent in the specific type of proceeding sought to be closed,” and to “comply with established public policy,” according to court documents.
During oral arguments, attorney Shane Vogt called the allegation against Miller “indisputably false.” Miller had been seeking $100 million from G/O in damages.
The appeals court rejected Miller’s lawsuit and ordered him to pay about $42,000 in legal fees.
Attorneys for The Daily Mail have once again asked a judge to dismiss Mike Lindell’s lawsuit against the media organization, arguing its story about the pillow mogul dating “30 Rock” actress Jane Krakowski didn’t amount to defamation.
The British tabloid reported in January that the MyPillow CEO had a secret nine-month fling with the actress. Both Lindell and Krakowski denied the report, and Lindell said he had never even heard of her.
Lindell sued The Daily Mail days later, alleging the report was defamatory. The lawsuit said the article caused him “significant humiliation and emotional distress” and cost him “economic opportunities.”
Lindell became a mega-celebrity among political conservatives for his staunch support of former President Donald Trump. He has also championed his personal story, as someone who was addicted to crack for eight years, is now recovering, and built a multi-million dollar pillow business empire. His lawsuit against the Daily Mail, in particular, the zeroes in the reported detail that Lindell gave Krakowski alcohol as a gift.
“As a recovering addict and alcoholic who frequently writes and speaks publicly about his spiritual triumphs over substance abuse, Mr. Lindell is horrified by the Defendants’ fabricated and very public accusations,” the lawsuit said.
The Daily Mail says legal standards for defamation don’t involve gifting bottles of alcohol
The Daily Mail first made a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on April 22. But Lindell’s lawyers submitted a revised version on April 27, as Insider first reported. In the amended version, Lindell claimed that some churches had distanced themselves from his nonprofit that helps people recovering from addiction.
New filings from The Daily Mail have asked the judge to reject those revisions as well, arguing they still don’t amount to the legal standards for defamation.
“Plaintiff [cannot] identify any case where it was found to be defamatory to state that an adult (whether he is a recovered addict, pious, or conservative) gave another adult a gift of alcohol – an entirely legal, and commonplace event,” the filings say, adding: “Well-established law makes clear that even a ‘devout Christian’ would not be subjected to hatred or contempt by ordinary readers, applying today’s societal mores, because of a report that he dated a popular actress and gave her gifts that included alcohol.”
In the past few months, Lindell has found himself with a number of tangled legal headaches. In addition to his lawsuit against The Daily Mail, he has been sued by Dominion Voting Systems. Lindell has pushed a false conspiracy theory that the election technology company was manipulated through China and secretly “flipped” votes in the 2020 presidential election from Trump to now-President Joe Biden. Dominion sued him, alleging $1.3 billion in defamatory damages, and Lindell counter-sued.
In court filings, Lindell’s attorneys have sought to distinguish between Lindell’s personal beliefs and the alleged damage done to his company and organization. The new Daily Mail filings argue that the legal arguments Lindell makes in his case with the media outlet are the opposite of the arguments he makes in his case with Dominion.
“As the materials submitted with the Motion make clear – and Plaintiff does not dispute – he has been the subject of widespread, negative publicity that includes his advocacy of fake COVID-19 ‘cures,’ false theories about election fraud, and support of martial law,” the Daily Mail filing says.
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.
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.
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.
Dominion Voting Systems sent letters to the One America News Network threatening to sue for defamation, accusing the network of spreading unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about the election-technology company.
OAN responded with letters of its own, asking Dominion to preserve certain documents concerning the election in order to help the network make its case if it ends up in court.
The requests reiterated some of the figures involved in the election conspiracy theories, including the former president of Venezuela Hugo Chávez and the billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros.
In response to threats of a defamation lawsuit, the One America News Network is leaning further into some election conspiracy theories that the network has featured on its shows.
Dominion Voting Systems previously sent OAN letters threatening to sue, accusing the network of spreading the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the election-technology company manipulated votes in favor of President-elect Joe Biden in the November general election.
Dominion also asked the network to save any documents or correspondence related to Dominion, Insider’s Jacob Shamsian previously reported.
In letters reviewed by Insider, OAN responded by requesting Dominion keep records of certain documents so the network can “preserve its own claims and defenses in the event of litigation.”
The conservative news network sent similar letters to Smartmatic, another election-technology company.
Supporters of President Donald Trump have alleged, without substantial evidence, that Dominion’s voting machines and Smartmatic’s voting software helped flipped votes from Trump to Biden. There are also groundless claims that Dominion has secret ties to Smartmatic.
The material OAN requested be preserved concerns that claim, as well as other baseless conspiracy theories that prompted Dominion’s lawsuit threats in the first place.
In the letters dated December 23, the list included voting software and hardware, communications about the 2020 election, digital and manual ballots, and the voting machines themselves.
In letters sent a day later, OAN requested the companies’ save any correspondence between Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica and a number of individuals, including former president of Venezuela Hugo Chávez and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
The president’s allies have also claimed without evidence that Smartmatic was working with the socialist Venezuelan government and Chávez, who died in 2013, to disrupt the US presidential election.
The list of material to preserve includes documents concerning George Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist who is a frequent target of right-wing conspiracy theorists.
In addition to OAN, Dominion has sent letters to Fox News and Newsmax with threats to sue for defamation, as well as conservative media figures like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, among others.
The company has also sent letters to some of Trump’s allies, including attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani.
Mugica, the Smartmatic CEO, has also said the company is considering pursuing lawsuits against Fox News, Newsmax, and OAN, for spreading the groundless claims, saying they have hurt his business.