Dominion is accusing Sidney Powell of promoting ‘defamatory falsehoods’ to attract money and fame

sidney powell
Sidney Powell participates in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington

  • Dominion is accusing attorney Sidney Powell of lying about the company to earn money and sell books.
  • It made the argument in a court filing on Monday as part of a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit.
  • Powell’s lawyers argued her conspiracy theories were not meant to be taken as statements of fact.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sidney Powell doesn’t think any “reasonable person” who listened to her claims about the 2020 election – and donated to her stated effort to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory – would believe what she was saying on television “were truly statements of fact.” That is what her attorneys argued last month in an attempt to beat back a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit from the company she accused of rigging the vote.

On Monday, Dominion Voting Systems fired back. In a court filing, it accused the far-right conspiracy theorist of spreading lies about the company and the integrity of US democracy in order to sell books and make money. And it accused her of seeking to evade responsibility by inventing a new standard for libel whereby one could get away with defamation merely by committing it on Fox News.

“After lying about the evidence supporting her claims,” Dominion’s legal team said, “Powell now asks this court to create unprecedented immunity for attorneys to wage televised disinformation campaigns.”

The company, which filed its lawsuit in US federal court in January, is seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

After the November election, Powell, a former federal prosecutor who now sells autographed books and T-shirts on her website, alleged it was the loser of the 2020 election, Donald Trump, who in fact “won by a landslide” (Biden beat the former president by more than 7 million votes).

Her claims were cosigned by the Republican Party and endorsed by the former president, although his campaign later distanced itself from Powell as her outlandish assertions increased their legal vulnerability. (Rudy Giuliani, too, is now being sued by the company for his part in “a viral disinformation campaign.)

Among other things, Powell falsely asserted she had evidence Dominion “was created to produce altered voting results in Venezuela for Hugo Chavez,” and that it had been imported to the US to do the same for Democrats. “We’re collecting evidence now from various whistleblowers that are aware of substantial sums of money being given to family members of state officials who bought this software,” she stated.

To support her claims against Dominion, she filed an affidavit from Ron Watkins, the owner of a conspiracy-theory message board, 8kun, that gained infamy as the home of the “QAnon” hoax.

Powell’s attorneys now assert this was all merely the heated rhetoric of a political campaign, not intended to be actionable statements of fact. But Dominion’s legal team says that is no defense – and that Powell harmed the company for personal profit, using “defamatory falsehoods to solicit funds … and to garner media attention,” which in turn helped her sell “additional copies of her book and drummed up additional potential clients.”

If Powell has any evidence to back up her claims, Dominion is inviting her to show them to the court.

“She either has a video of Dominion’s founder admitting that he can change a million votes or she does not (she does not),” the company’s lawyers state. “Dominion was either created in Venezuela to rig elections or it was not (it was not). Dominion either rigged the 2020 election by weighting, flipping, switching, and trashing votes or it did not (it did not). Dominion either bribed officials or it did not (it did not).”

Dominion’s legal filing comes just days after one of its executives reached a settlement with Newsmax, a right-wing media organization that alleged the company’s head of security had rigged the election himself. On its cable television network, Newsmax informed its viewers that it in fact had “no evidence” to support the allegation.

But retractions never garner the same amount of attention as an initial, inflammatory claim. A recent CNN poll found that while a large majority of Americans accept Biden’s victory as the product of a free and fair election, 70% of Republicans believe his presidency is illegitimate.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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Fox News argues its hosts didn’t need to fact-check election conspiracy theories from Trump’s lawyers in response to Smartmatic defamation suit

Lou Dobbs Fox Business News
Former Fox News host Lou Dobbs.

  • Fox News is trying to dismiss a $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic over election conspiracies.
  • It argues its hosts didn’t have a legal responsibility to fact-check falsehoods from Trump’s lawyers.
  • Election conspiracy theories have led to a tangle of legal consequences for right-wing media.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Attorneys representing Fox News once again asked a New York court to dismiss a defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic over conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, arguing its hosts didn’t have a responsibility to fact-check the attorneys hired by Donald Trump.

“Smartmatic asks this Court to become the first in history to hold the press liable for reporting allegations made by a sitting President and his lawyers,” the attorneys wrote in a brief filed to court Monday, later adding: “Smartmatic identifies no case in the history of our nation in which the press was held liable for reporting allegations made by or on behalf of a sitting President.”

The lawsuit, filed in February, asks for $2.7 billion in damages and accuses Fox News of waging a disinformation campaign that irreparably damaged Smartmatic’s reputation. It also targets three individual hosts – Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro, and Lou Dobbs – who hosted Trump’s attorneys, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

Powell and Giuliani had promoted conspiracy theories baselessly claiming that Smartmatic was secretly in cahoots with Dominion Voting Systems, a rival election technology company, in a complicated scheme to manipulate the 2020 presidential election that involved now-dead Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Dozens of lawsuits, audits, investigations, and recounts have found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

The false claims have led to a messy fallout. Trump fired Powell in late November, and Giuliani distanced himself from her even as he continued to advance conspiracy theories. Dominion sued Powell, Giuliani, Fox News, and other right-wing media figures that pushed those theories. And Fox News canceled Lou Dobb’s show shortly after Smartmatic filed its lawsuit.

jeanine pirro fox news
A screenshot of a Fox News broadcast featuring Jeanine Pirro, included as an exhibit in Fox News’ motion to dismiss the case.

Fox News first asked a judge to dismiss the case a few days after it was filed. On Monday, the network’s attorneys at Kirkland & Ellis LLP asked the judge to dismiss the claims against the individual hosts as well. The attorneys argue the legal standards for defamation don’t require the hosts to investigate whether Powell’s and Giuliani’s claims are actually true.

“Smartmatic simply identifies information ‘available to’ the public that it thinks the Fox hosts should have researched. But such ‘failure to investigate’ claims do not rise to the level of actual malice,” the attorneys wrote, citing other legal cases.

In earlier filings, Smartmatic said that the Fox News hosts’ failure to push back against false claims from Powell and Giuliani was itself defamatory, and said that the media organization shouldn’t receive legal protections normally given to journalists.

The new filings from Fox News spend dozens of pages going through individual claims from Bartiromo, Pirro, and Dobbs, arguing their comments were summaries of what Trump’s lawyers said, opinions protected by the First Amendment, or statements that didn’t directly mention Smartmatic and therefore didn’t need to be defended in the lawsuit.

As one example, Fox News’ attorneys cite a tweet included in Smartmatic’s lawsuit where Dobbs wrote, “Read all about Dominion and Smartmatic voting companies and you’ll soon understand how pervasive this Democrat electoral fraud is, and why there’s no way in the world the 2020 Presidential election was either free or fair.”

They wrote the statement was simply an opinion, and that statements on Twitter should not be taken seriously.

“New York courts have recognized that Twitter is not a natural setting in which a reasonable viewer would conclude that he is hearing actual facts about the plaintiff,” the lawyers argue.

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MyPillow is doubling down on election conspiracy theories despite being hit by a massive lawsuit

Mike Lindell MyPillow
Mike Lindell, founder of My Pillow Inc., points to the crowd during a rally for Donald Trump in September.

  • MyPillow’s new lawsuit against Dominion doubles down on election conspiracy theories.
  • It’s a different approach than the one Sidney Powell took after Dominion sued her for $1.3 billion.
  • Powell’s lawyers argued that “no reasonable person” would take her claims seriously.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mike Lindell doubled down on his false conspiracy theory about the 2020 election in a new lawsuit against Dominion Voting Systems filed Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Minnesota and seeking $1.6 billion in damages, is a counter-suit against a previous lawsuit from Dominion. It was filed on behalf of Lindell’s company, MyPillow, although Lindell promoted it on his new social network, Frank.

Dominion sued Lindell and MyPillow in February, asking for $1.3 billion in damages. The election technology company claimed Lindell defamed it when he falsely claimed it rigged the 2020 election in favor of Joe Biden against Donald Trump.

The new MyPillow lawsuit reiterates a version of the very same conspiracy theory.

“In its capacity as – and using its authority as – a governmental actor, Dominion allowed manipulation or changing of votes in the 2020 election, as well as suppressed public debate about the election which deprived MyPillow of its rights,” the lawsuit says.

There is no evidence that Dominion allowed the manipulation or changing of votes in the 2020 election. Numerous audits, lawsuits, and analyses of technology used in the election have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Despite claiming Dominion manipulated election results, the lawsuit brings forth no evidence to bolster that claim. The most recent example of problems with Dominion-related election software included in the lawsuit dates back to 2009. The lawsuit also brings up examples of numerous people claiming before the 2020 election that it would be hacked, but presents no actual evidence of hacking. The US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency said the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history.”

The lawsuit further claims Dominion’s litigation against MyPillow, Lindell, and others is an exercise in “cancel culture” and stifles free speech.

“This is a meritless retaliatory lawsuit, filed by MyPillow to try to distract from the harm it caused to Dominion,” Dominion attorney Stephen Shackelford told Insider’s Grace Dean.

MyPillow’s approach to Dominion’s $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit differs from others who’ve been sued over election conspiracy theories.

Lawyers for Sidney Powell, another conspiracy theorist sued by Dominion, defended her statements about Dominion by saying her claims were too outlandish for anyone to take seriously.

“Even assuming, arguendo, 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.

Lindell has welcomed a lawsuit from Dominion from the start, claiming litigation would prove his theories to be correct.

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Smartmatic says Fox News shouldn’t have journalism protections in defamation lawsuit over election conspiracy theories

fox news channel
Fox News is the subject of several defamation lawsuits over election conspiracy theories.

  • Smartmatic argued in a filing Monday that Fox News shouldn’t receive legal journalism protections.
  • Its defamation lawsuit alleges Fox News pushed damaging conspiracy theories about the company.
  • Fox News has moved to dismiss the lawsuit.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Smartmatic Voting Systems argued in a court filing Monday that Fox News should not have legal protections normally given to journalists, arguing that its defamation lawsuit should move forward.

Smartmatic’s 137-page filing rejects Fox News’ defense that it was simply reporting on the dispute between the election technology company and conspiracy theorists who falsely said it played a role in rigging the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump.

It argues that Fox News anchors shouldn’t be protected by what’s called “neutral reporting privilege,” a legal doctrine that sometimes protects news organizations that publish accusations against public figures from libel lawsuits.

“The First Amendment does not give anyone, even news organizations, a free pass to defame a private company,” Smartmatic attorney J. Erik Connolly said in a statement.

The filing is part of a $2.7 billion lawsuit Smartmatic filed in February in New York state court, alleging that Fox News waged a defamatory disinformation campaign when it pushed conspiracy theories about the ecompany. The media organization hosted Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, two conspiracy theorist attorneys who falsely argued the election was rigged and who are also defendants in the lawsuit. Several Fox News hosts also advanced the conspiracy theories on their own, Smartmatic said, and are individually named as defendants.

Fox News asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit later in February, arguing it simply offered “newsworthy information” to the public. The media organization also backtracked and aired interviews with experts affirming the legitimacy of the election following legal threats in December.

In a statement Tuesday, Fox News said Smartmatic’s new motion shows its lawsuit is “meritless.”

“The filing only confirms our view that the suit is meritless and FOX News covered the election in the highest tradition of the First Amendment,” a spokesperson said.

Fox News is also the subject of a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion, a rival election technology company that conspiracy theorists said was secretly in cahoots with Smartmatic. Fox News has called that lawsuit meritless as well.

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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.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers wants a court to force Trump, his lawyers, and Sidney Powell to pay over $100,000 in legal fees over their election lawsuits

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 28, 2021.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 28, 2021.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has asked a court to force former President Donald Trump, his lawyers, and former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees over their presidential election lawsuits.

In court documents filed on Wednesday, attorneys for Evers called lawsuits that disputed the 2020 election results “meritless” and “built on inscrutable conspiracy theories.”

He called for $106,000 in sanctions against Powell, and $144,000 against Trump and his attorneys, according to court documents.

Read more: Election-fraud liars are scrambling to avoid lawsuits, but they can’t retract the damage they’ve done

“This litigation imposed significant costs on the taxpayers of Wisconsin,” attorneys for Evers said in court documents filed against Trump. “Those costs were needless, because Trump’s suit never had any merit, this litigation was precluded by exclusive state-court proceedings, and the costs were exacerbated by strategic choices made by Trump and his lawyers.”

President Joe Biden beat Trump by around 20,000 votes in Wisconsin, though Trump, Powell, and Trump’s lawyers have made false claims that Biden stole the election.

Powell has falsely claimed that an election win was stolen from Trump by George Soros, the dead Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and “probably China.”

She has also accused companies that make voting equipment and software of switching votes from Trump to Biden.

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From Rudy Giuliani to Fox News, here’s everyone Dominion and Smartmatic are suing over election conspiracy theories so far

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, and Rudy Giuliani are being sued by Dominion.

  • Conspiracy theorists claim Dominion and Smartmatic “flipped” votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
  • The election technology companies are now suing the people who spread those claims.
  • Here’s who’s being sued so far.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Dominion and Smartmatic have launched a series of defamation lawsuits against individuals and groups who spread election fraud conspiracy theories related to their voting machines during the 2020 presidential election.

Dominion filed a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News on Friday, and more could be on their way. Dominion has sent cease-and-desist notices and warnings to preserve documents to more than 150 people, and its CEO previously told CNBC that the company was “not ruling anyone out.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, people turned to alternative ways to vote in the election, and voter fraud conspiracy theories quickly sprung up.

One posited that Dominion and Smartmatic developed technology that “flipped” votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden through a method developed with the regime of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez.

The theory has been thoroughly debunked. That didn’t stop pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell and Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani from pushing elements of the theory while filing a series of failed lawsuits seeking to overturn the results of the election. Lindell has also spread misinformation about the machines, saying Dominion “built them to cheat.”

As well as making the brand “radioactive” and putting its multiyear contracts in jeopardy, according to its attorney Tom Clare, the allegations about Dominion also put its employees in danger, the company wrote in a lawsuit.

Its customer support number received a voicemail message saying “we’re bringing back the firing squad,” it wrote in the suit in January. The need for heightened personal security cost Dominion $565,000, according to the lawsuit, bringing its total costs attributed to the vote fraud claims to almost $1.2 million.

Here’s a list of everyone is being sued so far.

Sidney Powell by Dominion and Smartmatic

Sidney Powell
Attorney Sidney Powell at a Trump Campaign press conference.

Dominion was the first to snap.

On January 8, it filed a defamation suit against pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell, seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

Powell was one of the faces of the Trump campaign’s legal team in November, but Trump kicked her off the team after she floated her conspiracy theory at a press conference.

Despite being purged from Trump’s “Elite Strike Force” legal team Powell used her false theories as the premise of four federal lawsuits seeking to overturn the election result. All of them failed, and some have resulted in motions for her to be disbarred.

Dominion’s lawsuit alleges that Powell’s claims caused the company business losses after she baselessly accused the company of fraud, election rigging, and bribery.

“Powell’s statements were calculated to — and did in fact — provoke outrage and cause Dominion enormous harm,” Tom Clare, the attorney representing Dominion, wrote in the lawsuit.

The 124-page defamation lawsuit also outlines how Powell raised money from her media tour peddling her conspiracy theory through a corporate vehicle called “Defending the Republic,” also named as a party in the lawsuit.

Powell responded by tweeting that the lawsuit “is baseless & filed to harass, intimidate, & to drain our resources as we seek the truth of #DominionVotingSystems‘ role in this fraudulent election.”

Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Powell a month later, suing her at the same time it sued Rudy Giuliani, a fellow conspiracy theorist, and Fox News.

The company claimed that Powell and Giuliani used right-wing media outlets like Fox News to make their conspiracy theories go viral.

“These defendants are primary sources of much of the false information,” the company said. “Their unfounded accusations were repeated by other media outlets, journalists, bloggers and influencers the world over.”

Rudy Giuliani by Dominion and Smartmatic

Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani at a Trump Campaign press conference with Sidney Powell.

On January 26, Dominion filed a defamation suit against Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s now-former personal lawyer, again seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

In the lawsuit, Dominion accused Giuliani of creating “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion,” referring to more than 50 of his statements.

Through hearings, television appearances, Twitter, and his own YouTube show, it said, Giuliani repeatedly accused Dominion of election fraud and misrepresented the company’s security measures while doing so.

He “cashed in by hosting a podcast where he exploited election falsehoods to market gold coins, supplements, cigars and protection from ‘cyberthieves,'” Dominion wrote in the lawsuit.

The 107-page document also cited numerous other people who said they believed Giuliani’s claims, which it argued demonstrated the scope of the damage.

“Rudy Giuliani actively propagated disinformation to purposefully mislead voters,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement. “Because Giuliani and others incessantly repeated the false claims about my company on a range of media platforms, some of our own family and friends are among the Americans who were duped.”

Smartmatic also included Giuliani as a defendant in its lawsuit filed in February.

The company said Giuliani used the conspiracy theories to enrich himself.

“He reportedly would seek thousands of dollars ($20,000/day) in fees from President Trump to spread the story and file frivolous lawsuits,” the company wrote in its lawsuit.

“He would also use the attention brought to him as one of the primary storytellers to sell various products – from coins to supplements to title fraud protection.”

In a statement, Giuliani said he welcomed the lawsuit and suggested he had not previously done a thorough investigation of Dominion’s practices.

Mike Lindell by Dominion

mike lindell trump
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

On February 22, Dominion filed a defamation suit against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, also seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

Lindell is a staunch ally of former president Donald Trump and a major GOP donor, who has repeatedly supported Trump’s claims challenging the integrity of the election.

Dominion’s lawsuit accused Lindell of repeatedly making false allegations while knowing there was no credible evidence to support his claims. As well as rallies, interviews, and a two-hour movie, Lindell used his social-media profiles to spread his baseless claims of voter fraud.

In the lawsuit, Dominion claimed Lindell used the claims as a way to ramp up his pillow sales, advertising on far-right media outlets that parroted his claims and sponsoring a bus tour that sought to overturn the election results. Lindell told Insider that retailer boycotts of MyPillow following the insurrection have cost him tens of millions of dollars in business.

He “knowingly lied about Dominion to sell more pillows to people who continued tuning in to hear what they wanted to hear about the election,” Dominion wrote.

Lindell told Insider Dominion had “zero, zero, zero” chance of winning. The lawsuits were part of cancel culture’s attempts at silencing voices, he said.

“I looked at it as a great day for America when they sued me,” Lindell added. “I can put the evidence for the whole world to see, and it’ll be public record, and the media will quit trying to suppress it.”

Fox News by Smartmatic and Dominion

Donald Trump Fox News
A close-up of the Fox News Channel website with a picture of President Donald Trump displayed on a smartphone.

On February 4, Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, accusing it of waging disinformation campaigns about the company’s role in the 2020 election.

“In November and December 2020, Fox News broadcast multiple reports stating and implying that Smartmatic had fixed and rigged the 2020 election,” the company said.

“They repeated the false claims and accusations on air and in articles and social media postings that were together seen by millions in the US and even more around the world.”

Fox called the lawsuit “meritless” and asked a judge to dismiss the case.

On March 26, Dominion also filed a lawsuit against Fox News. The $1.6 billion suit – its biggest yet – claimed that the network gave prominence to the election-fraud claims as a tactic to revive viewership as ratings dropped after President Donald Trump’s loss.

The voting-technology company said that Fox News “sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process.”

In a statement, Fox News said: “Fox News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”

Fox News representative told Insider in February that the network ran several “fact-check” segments “prior to any lawsuit chatter.”

While several of its news shows reported that there was no evidence of Dominion’s systems changing votes, Fox News, in particular its opinion hosts, “questioned the results of the election or pushed conspiracy theories about it at least 774 times” in the two weeks after the network called the race, according to Media Matters.

Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs by Smartmatic. They have filed to dismiss the lawsuit

Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs
Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs

Smartmatic’s 285-page lawsuit against Fox News also named the hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro as defendants.

Smartmatic said the hosts had offered Powell and Giuliani a platform and endorsed their falsehoods.

Bartiromo, Pirro, and Dobbs all filed separate motions to dismiss the lawsuit, Fox News said.

Fox News canceled Dobbs’ show days later and said he would no longer have a relationship with the network. It added that the move had been planned.

Dominion will ‘definitely’ file more lawsuits, its CEO said

More lawsuits could be on their way, with Dominion’s CEO telling CNBC that the company was “not ruling anyone out.”

Dominion has sent cease-and-desist notices and warnings to preserve documents to more than 150 peopleThe Washington Post reported. This includes the media outlets Newsmax and One America News.

 

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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.

Read the original article on Business Insider

From Rudy Giuliani to Sidney Powell, here’s everyone Dominion and Smartmatic is suing over election conspiracy theories so far

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, and Rudy Giuliani are being sued by Dominion.

  • Conspiracy theorists claim Dominion and Smartmatic “flipped” votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
  • The election technology companies are now suing the people who spread those claims.
  • Here’s who’s being sued so far.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Dominion and Smartmatic have launched a series of defamation lawsuits against individuals and groups who spread election fraud conspiracy theories related to their voting machines during the 2020 presidential election.

More could be on their way, with Dominion’s CEO telling CNBC that its most recent lawsuit, against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, is “definitely” not its last.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, people turned to alternative ways to vote in the election, and voter fraud conspiracy theories quickly sprung up.

One posited that Dominion and Smartmatic developed technology that “flipped” votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden through a method developed with the regime of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez.

The theory has been thoroughly debunked. That didn’t stop pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell and Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani from pushing elements of the theory while filing a series of failed lawsuits seeking to overturn the results of the election. Lindell has also spread misinformation about the machines, saying Dominion “built them to cheat.”

As well as making the brand “radioactive” and putting its multiyear contracts in jeopardy, according to its attorney Tom Clare, the allegations about Dominion also put its employees in danger, the company wrote in a lawsuit.

Its customer support number received a voicemail message saying “we’re bringing back the firing squad,” it wrote in the suit in January. The need for heightened personal security cost Dominion $565,000, according to the lawsuit, bringing its total costs attributed to the vote fraud claims to almost $1.2 million.

Here’s a list of everyone is being sued so far.

Sidney Powell by Dominion and Smartmatic

Sidney Powell
Attorney Sidney Powell at a Trump Campaign press conference.

On January 8, Dominion filed a defamation suit against pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell, seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

Powell was one of the faces of the Trump campaign’s legal team in November, but Trump kicked her off the team after she floated her conspiracy theory at a press conference.

Despite being purged from Trump’s “Elite Strike Force” legal team Powell used her false theories as the premise of four federal lawsuits seeking to overturn the election result. All of them failed, and some have resulted in motions for her to be disbarred.

Dominion’s lawsuit alleges that Powell’s claims caused the company business losses after she baselessly accused the company of fraud, election rigging, and bribery.

“Powell’s statements were calculated to — and did in fact — provoke outrage and cause Dominion enormous harm,” Tom Clare, the attorney representing Dominion, wrote in the lawsuit.

The 124-page defamation lawsuit also outlines how Powell raised money from her media tour peddling her conspiracy theory through a corporate vehicle called “Defending the Republic,” also named as a party in the lawsuit.

Powell responded by tweeting that the lawsuit “is baseless & filed to harass, intimidate, & to drain our resources as we seek the truth of #DominionVotingSystems‘ role in this fraudulent election.”

Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Powell a month later, suing her at the same time it sued Rudy Giuliani, a fellow conspiracy theorist, and Fox News.

The company claimed that Powell and Giuliani used right-wing media outlets like Fox News to make their conspiracy theories go viral.

“These defendants are primary sources of much of the false information,” the company said. “Their unfounded accusations were repeated by other media outlets, journalists, bloggers and influencers the world over.”

Rudy Giuliani by Dominion and Smartmatic

Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani at a Trump Campaign press conference with Sidney Powell.

On January 26, Dominion filed a defamation suit against Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s now-former personal lawyer, again seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

In the lawsuit, Dominion accused Giuliani of creating “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion,” referring to more than 50 of his statements.

Through hearings, television appearances, Twitter, and his own YouTube show, it said, Giuliani repeatedly accused Dominion of election fraud and misrepresented the company’s security measures while doing so.

He “cashed in by hosting a podcast where he exploited election falsehoods to market gold coins, supplements, cigars and protection from ‘cyberthieves,'” Dominion wrote in the lawsuit.

The 107-page document also cited numerous other people who said they believed Giuliani’s claims, which it argued demonstrated the scope of the damage.

“Rudy Giuliani actively propagated disinformation to purposefully mislead voters,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement. “Because Giuliani and others incessantly repeated the false claims about my company on a range of media platforms, some of our own family and friends are among the Americans who were duped.”

Smartmatic also included Giuliani as a defendant in its lawsuit filed in February.

The company said Giuliani used the conspiracy theories to enrich himself.

“He reportedly would seek thousands of dollars ($20,000/day) in fees from President Trump to spread the story and file frivolous lawsuits,” the company wrote in its lawsuit. “He would also use the attention brought to him as one of the primary storytellers to sell various products – from coins to supplements to title fraud protection.”

In a statement following the Dominion lawsuit, Giuliani said he welcomed it and suggested he had not previously done a thorough investigation of Dominion’s practices.

Mike Lindell by Dominion

mike lindell trump
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

On February 22, Dominion filed a defamation suit against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, also seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

Lindell is a staunch ally of former president Donald Trump and a major GOP donor, who has repeatedly supported Trump’s claims challenging the integrity of the election.

Dominion’s lawsuit accused Lindell of repeatedly making false allegations while knowing there was no credible evidence to support his claims. As well as rallies, interviews, and a two-hour movie, Lindell used his social-media profiles to spread his baseless claims of voter fraud.

In the lawsuit, Dominion claimed Lindell used the claims as a way to ramp up his pillow sales, advertising on far-right media outlets that parroted his claims and sponsoring a bus tour that sought to overturn the election results. Lindell told Insider that retailer boycotts of MyPillow following the insurrection have cost him tens of millions of dollars in business.

He “knowingly lied about Dominion to sell more pillows to people who continued tuning in to hear what they wanted to hear about the election,” Dominion wrote.

Lindell told Insider Dominion had “zero, zero, zero” chance of winning. The lawsuits were part of cancel culture’s attempts at silencing voices, he said.

“I looked at it as a great day for America when they sued me,” Lindell added. “I can put the evidence for the whole world to see, and it’ll be public record, and the media will quit trying to suppress it.”

Fox News by Smartmatic

Donald Trump Fox News
A close-up of the Fox News Channel website with a picture of President Donald Trump displayed on a smartphone.

On February 4, Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, accusing it of waging disinformation campaigns about the company’s role in the 2020 election.

“In November and December 2020, Fox News broadcast multiple reports stating and implying that Smartmatic had fixed and rigged the 2020 election,” the company said.

“They repeated the false claims and accusations on air and in articles and social media postings that were together seen by millions in the US and even more around the world.”

Fox called the lawsuit “meritless” and asked a judge to dismiss the case.

“Fox News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion,” the company said. “We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court.”

Asked whether Dominion would also sue Fox News, Poulos told CNBC the company was “not ruling anyone out.”

Fox News representative told Insider earlier in February that the network ran several “fact-check” segments “prior to any lawsuit chatter.” While several of its news shows reported that there was no evidence of Dominion’s systems changing votes, Fox News, in particular its opinion hosts, “questioned the results of the election or pushed conspiracy theories about it at least 774 times” in the two weeks after the network called the race, according to Media Matters.

Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs by Smartmatic. They have filed to dismiss the lawsuit

Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs
Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs

Smartmatic’s 285-page lawsuit against Fox News also named the hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro as defendants.

Smartmatic said the hosts had offered Powell and Giuliani a platform and endorsed their falsehoods.

Bartiromo, Pirro, and Dobbs all filed separate motions to dismiss the lawsuit, Fox News said.

Dominion will ‘definitely’ file more lawsuits, its CEO said

Dominion CEO John Poulos told CNBC the company’s filing against Lindell was “definitely not the last lawsuit.”

Dominion has sent cease-and-desist notices and warnings to preserve documents to more than 150 peopleThe Washington Post reported. This includes the media outlets Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News.

But Americans could be “forgiven for believing” the claims because they were touted as facts, Poulos told CNBC.

 

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A lawyer who filed Sidney Powell’s Michigan election lawsuit says he shouldn’t be disbarred and was just ‘holding the fort’ for her

GettyImages 1229757450
Sidney Powell, attorney for President Donald Trump, conducts a news conference at the Republican National Committee on lawsuits regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election on Thursday, November 19, 2020

  • Attorney Greg Rohl was instrumental in helping Sidney Powell file her Michigan election lawsuit.
  • Michigan’s governor and other elected officials are attempting to disbar Rohl as a result.
  • Rohl said despite filing the case, he did not make any changes, additions, or corrections to it.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A local attorney who was instrumental in filing Sidney Powell’s Michigan lawsuit to throw out the state’s votes in the 2020 presidential election, said in a court filing he was just “holding the fort” for her and shouldn’t be sanctioned or disbarred.

Gregory Rohl, a trial attorney based in Novi, Michigan, wrote in a federal court affidavit that he was quarantined at home after having contracted COVID-19 when he was asked to assist Powell and attorney Lin Wood in filing the case. Rohl said in his affidavit he was approached at 6:30 p.m., and was told the filing deadline was at midnight.

Rohl’s filing comes just days after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, state Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson filed complaints seeking to disbar Powell, Rohl, and several attorneys who were involved in the frivolous lawsuit.

Powell, a Texas-based attorney, was unable to file the suit herself at the time as she did not have a license to practice in Michigan. Rohl was told that Powell was waiting to hear back about her pro hac vice application, a request for permission to work on the case when a lawyer does not have the legal authority to practice law in the area.

Despite what Rohl was told, court filings do not show Powell ever actually filed a formal pro hac vice application.

In his affidavit, Rohl said the filing contained over 100 exhibits and took over an hour to review. He said he is not a political person and “did not really care who won” the presidential election, but added that he found the affidavits associated with the case “compelling” and called the complaint “sound” in his view.

The affidavits, however, had already been reviewed and summarily rejected in a separate case by the Great Lakes Justice Center on behalf of two Republican poll watchers. The judge said that “no basis exists” within the affidavits to stop the certification of Michigan’s electoral results.

Rohl filed the lawsuit at 11:56 p.m., less than five minutes before his deadline. He said he made no additions, deletions, or corrections to the complaint or affidavits.

Read more: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed a bar complaint against Sidney Powell, asking that she be stripped of her law license

Rohl argues he should not be disbarred as his involvement in the case became even more minuscule after District Judge Linda V. Parker waived the oral argument and held no evidentiary hearings. Once she dismissed the case, Rohl said he was told he was no longer needed as counsel.

Over 60 cases were filed across the US by Powell and other attorneys allied with the Trump administration in an attempt to challenge the election, but none of the lawsuits were successful in flipping the results of a single state, nor did they find any widespread evidence of fraud.

Read the original article on Business Insider