Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Fox News have August date confirmed for court bid to dismiss $2.7 billion Smartmatic lawsuit

A Fox News broadcast featuring host Lou Dobbs and lawyer Rudy Giuliani
A November 12, 2020 Fox News broadcast screenshot filed as an exhibit by Smartmatic in May.

  • Rudy Giuliani and Fox News will argue for dismissal of a $2.7 billion defamation case on August 17.
  • Voting-machine company Smartmatic said they spread false claims about the presidential election.
  • Defendants include Trump lawyers Giuliani and Sidney Powell, along with a cast of Fox News hosts.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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.

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Sidney Powell’s lawyers argue her Fox News appearances were ‘not infomercials,’ compare her to Buddhist monk as they move to dismiss defamation lawsuit

sidney powell
Attorney Sidney Powell, speaks during in Alpharetta, Ga.

  • Sidney Powell has asked a judge to dismiss Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit.
  • Her lawyers argue her appearances on Fox News weren’t just infomercials to raise money.
  • Rudy Giuliani, another defendant in the lawsuit, also asked a judge for dismissal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An attorney for Sidney Powell filed a court motion Thursday asking a judge to dismiss a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against her, arguing her television appearances advancing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election were “not infomercials” and comparing her to a Buddhist monk.

The filing, in New York state court, argued that Powell was sincerely concerned about the integrity of the election. Powell didn’t just want to raise money through her organization Defending the Republic, as voting technology company Smartmatic alleged in its lawsuit, her attorney argued.

“Powell’s Fox News interviews were about election integrity, evidence of election fraud, and her intention to take legal action to bring the malfeasance to light,” the filing says. “Her appearances were not informercials promoting her law firm or DTR’s websites. [sic]”

Powell, a former attorney on Donald Trump’s 2020 election team, falsely accused Smartmatic of being in cahoots with Dominion Voting Systems, a rival election technology company, to “flip” votes from then-President Trump to now-President Joe Biden. When Trump fired Powell from his legal team, she subsequently filed four failed and conspiracy-theory-filled lawsuits seeking to overturn the election results.

Smartmatic filed its lawsuit in February. It accused Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Fox News of defamation over election conspiracy theory claims.

In the new filing, Powell’s attorney, Howard Kleinhendler, said she can’t be held responsible in a New York state court over her claims, comparing her to a Buddhist monk in the Himalayas.

“Plaintiffs ask this Court to assert personal jurisdiction over Powell because her words were broadcast world-wide by Fox news from New York and maybe, as a result, some New Yorkers sent money to a Texas not-for-profit corporation called Defending the Republic,” Kleinhendler wrote. “According to this theory, a Buddhist monk shrouded in red robes high atop the Himalayas demanding Tibetan independence from China can be haled into this Court for defamatory statements against the Communist government.”

Rudy Giuliani also asked to dismiss the defamation suit

An attorney for Giuliani also filed a motion for dismissal on Thursday. Like Powell, Giuliani’s attorney argued that Smartmatic didn’t have jurisdiction to sue him in New York over comments claiming the company had secret Venezuelan connections it used to develop technology to manipulate election results.

Giuliani’s attorney also said that an “ordinary listener/reader” would interpret Giuliani’s remarks to be a reference to a Venezuelan company. Smartmatic is a British or Dutch company, and so the lawsuit should be dismissed, the attorney argued.

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Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell have drifted from Trump’s orbit since the election.

Fox News, too, has filed motions asking the court to dismiss the Smartmatic lawsuit.

Court filings in February and in April argued that since the media company was offering newsworthy information from the president’s lawyers to viewers, it didn’t need to deeply scrutinize Powell’s and Giuliani’s claims. Smartmatic has argued that Fox News shouldn’t benefit from legal protections normally given to media companies in defamation lawsuits in New York.

Dominion has also sued Fox News, Powell, and Giuliani in separate lawsuits over election falsehoods. They have all asked for the lawsuits to be dismissed.

In March, Powell’s attorneys argued that Dominion’s lawsuit should be dismissed because her claims about the election were too outlandish to be taken seriously, even though she’s continued to push political conspiracy theories. Powell also faces potential legal sanctions over her lawsuits.

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MyPillow’s Mike Lindell filed another lawsuit against voting machine companies that includes quotes from ‘1984,’ Shakespeare, and ‘Fahrenheit 451’

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Mike Lindell, CEO of My Pillow, speaks during a campaign rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump at the Target Center on October 10, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • Mike Lindell filed another lawsuit against voting machine companies involved in the 2020 election.
  • Dominion sued Lindell in February for $1.3 billion over his election-fraud claims.
  • The latest lawsuit features references to dystopian novels and William Shakespeare.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

“MyPillow guy” Mike Lindell filed another federal lawsuit Thursday against voting machine companies involved in the 2020 presidential election, Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic.

MyPillow had already filed a lawsuit in April against Dominion for $1.6 billion, claiming the company was trying to stifle free speech. Dominion sued Lindell in February for $1.3 billion over claims he was making about election fraud involving their machines.

In the latest lawsuit, filed in federal court in Minnesota, Lindell accuses the companies of “weaponizing the litigation process to silence political dissent and suppress evidence showing voting machines were manipulated to affect outcomes in the November 2020 general election.”

Read more: Check out the 17-foot mural of fan mail Marjorie Taylor Greene created on Capitol Hill that’s annoying Democrats – before House rules might force her to remove it

Lindell, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, has repeatedly spread false or unsubstantiated claims about the integrity of the election. For example, he perpetuated the since-debunked conspiracy theory that Dominion voting machines switched votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

The recent lawsuit repeats many of the claims from the first lawsuit MyPillow filed in April and accuses Dominion and Smartmatic of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy to use the court system to silence claims about them.

Sections of the 82-page lawsuit include titles such as “The Rise of the Machines,” “Gaslighting: The REAL Big Lie,” and “Shut Up Or Else.”

The lawsuit also features quotes from famous dystopian novels and English playwright William Shakespeare.

One of the included quotes is attributed to Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”: “But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can’t last.”

Another quote included is from George Orwell’s “1984”: “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth.”

Dominion and Smartmatic did not respond to Insider’s request for comment. A Dominion spokesperson previously told Insider the initial lawsuit brought by MyPillow was a “meritless retaliatory lawsuit, filed by MyPillow to try to distract from the harm it caused to Dominion.”

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Newsmax settles a defamation lawsuit from a Dominion executive at the center of election conspiracy theories and issues an apology

Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy attends a dinner with the US president and business leaders in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 7, 2018.
Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy attends a dinner with Donald Trump and business leaders.

  • Dominion executive Eric Coomer reached a settlement with Newsmax, which he sued for defamation.
  • Newsmax pushed false theories Coomer was in an “Antifa conference call” to rig the election.
  • Coomer is still suing others, and his legal efforts are separate from Dominion’s own lawsuits.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An executive at Dominion Voting Systems moved to dismiss Newsmax as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit Friday after reaching a settlement with the right-wing media organization.

It’s the first such settlement from a news organization in a defamation lawsuit filed over 2020 election conspiracy theories.

The lawsuit, filed by Dominion’s head of product strategy and security Eric Coomer, is among several filed over false claims that election technology companies like Dominion rigged the election against former president Donald Trump and in favor of now-President Joe Biden.

Coomer sued Newsmax in December in state court in Colorado over false claims that he took part in an “Antifa conference call” to rig the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump. He revised his lawsuit in February to bolster his claims against Newsmax, as Insider previously reported.

On Friday, Newsmax issued a retraction and apology on its website saying it found “no evidence” that earlier claims about Coomer and the 2020 election were true.

“There are several facts that our viewers should be aware of. Newsmax has found no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered with Dominion voting machines or voting software in any way, nor that Dr. Coomer ever claimed to have done so,” the statement reads. “Nor has Newsmax found any evidence that Dr. Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of ‘Antifa,’ nor that he was directly involved with any partisan political organization.”

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed in the court filings reviewed by Insider. A representative for Coomer declined to comment on the settlement terms. A representative for Newsmax declined to comment and directed Insider to its apology statement.

Coomer went into hiding after receiving death threats over the conspiracies

Coomer first became the subject of conspiracy theories after Joe Oltmann, a right-wing political operative, claimed without evidence that he was a member of “Antifa” – a loosely linked group of left-wing activists who oppose fascist movements – and worked to rig the 2020 election. Numerous lawsuits, recounts, and investigations have turned up no widespread evidence of irregularities in the 2020 election.

Oltmann’s baseless claims spread like wildfire in right-wing media circles, and Coomer went into hiding after receiving numerous death threats. Coomer sued more than a dozen right-wing media figures he claims were responsible for pushing the conspiracy theories. He alleged defamation, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and civil conspiracy over the claims.

dominion ceo john poulos
President and CEO of Election Systems & Software Tom Burt, President and CEO of Dominion Voting Systems John Poulos, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic Julie Mathis testify during a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Newsmax had steadfastly claimed it did nothing wrong as recently as February, when a spokesperson told Insider that Coomer’s lawsuit was politically motivated. The media organization is owned and run by Christopher Ruddy, a close friend of Trump’s.

In a statement, Cain and Skarnulis PLLC, the law firm representing Coomer, said he continues to receive death threats.

“Six months after the election, Dr. Coomer continues to receive death threats and harassment from those who believe the false conspiracy theories,” the statement reads.

All of the other people and organizations Coomer has sued – including Oltmann, Trump’s campaign, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, One America News Network, and others – remain defendants in the lawsuit.

“With respect to the remaining defendants, Dr. Coomer is seeking damages to his reputation and livelihood and, once certified by the court, punitive damages,” the statement from Coomer’s law firm reads.

Coomer’s lawsuit is distinct from the legal efforts of Dominion itself, which is represented by the defamation firm Clare Locke LLP. Dominion has sued Fox News, Powell, Giuliani, and MyPillow mogul Mike Lindell. Smartmatic, another election technology caught up in election conspiracy theories, has filed its own defamation lawsuits against right-wing media figures over the falsehoods.

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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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Mike Lindell’s company, MyPillow, is suing Dominion for $1.6 billion

mike lindell trump
Mike Lindell with then-President Donald Trump at the White House in March 2020.

MyPillow is suing Dominion Voting Systems for $1.6 billion, the pillow company’s CEO Mike Lindell announced Monday.

The suit appears to be a counterattack after Dominion filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against both the company and Lindell in February.

Lindell announced the new lawsuit in a livestream on his social-media site, Frank.

“This is all about the First Amendment rights and free speech,” Lindell said.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Minnesota, claims Dominion is trying to stifle free speech and engaging in “cancel culture” against those who question it.

Frank Mike Lindell
Lindell during a livestreamed launch of his social-media site, Frank, on Monday.

The suit distinguishes between MyPillow and Lindell, arguing that the CEO was speaking on his own behalf when alleging election fraud, as The Wall Street Journal first reported.

Lindell, a major GOP donor, is a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump and has repeatedly supported his claims challenging the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

Lindell spread the conspiracy theory claiming that Dominion had developed technology to switch votes from Trump to Joe Biden. The theory has been thoroughly debunked.

Read more: The MyPillow guy says God helped him beat a crack addiction to build a multimillion-dollar empire. Now his religious devotion to Trump threatens to bring it all crashing down.

MyPillow said in the lawsuit that “in making these statements, Lindell spoke for himself, not MyPillow,” adding that “MyPillow has not engaged in discussion about the 2020 election.”

The lawsuit accuses Dominion of engaging in “lawfare” by aggressively using the legal system to attack its critics, who have falsely argued that the election technology company manipulated the 2020 election.

“Lawfare is the use of the legal system as part of wrongful scheme to attack another person and inflict extra-judicial harm upon them,” the lawsuit says. “Here, Dominion’s scheme is wrongful because Dominion’s purpose is to punish and deter important constitutionally-protected activity-free expression about a matter of public concern.”

Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer representing Lindell, discussed the lawsuit alongside Lindell during the livestream on Monday.

“I’ve been defending the First Amendment for 60 years, and I’m not going to stop now,” Dershowitz said.

Dominion’s counsel, Stephen Shackelford, a partner at Susman Godfrey LLP, told Insider, “This is a meritless retaliatory lawsuit, filed by MyPillow to try to distract from the harm it caused to Dominion.”

Dominion sued Lindell, Powell, Giuliani, and Fox News

On February 22, Dominion filed a defamation suit against Lindell after filing similar ones against the pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell, Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Fox News.

Dominion’s lawsuit accused Lindell of repeatedly making false allegations while knowing there was no credible evidence to support his claims.

Lindell used his social-media profiles – as well as rallies, interviews, and a two-hour movie – to spread his baseless claims of voter fraud and accuse Dominion of building its machines “to cheat.”

Lindell previously told Insider that he thought Dominion had a “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.”

More than 20 retailers have severed ties with MyPillow

In its lawsuit, Dominion said Lindell had 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 result.

But Lindell’s lawsuit said Dominion had caused “grave harm” to MyPillow “as a result of Dominion’s suppression of speech and attacks on the Company,” according to The Journal.

More than 20 retailers have cut ties with MyPillow following the insurrection at the Capitol in January and Lindell’s insistence that the election result was fraudulent.

Bed Bath and Beyond, Sam’s Club, Kohl’s, and, most recently, Costco are among those to have stopped selling MyPillow’s products.

Some of the companies cited poor sales, but Lindell blamed it on “cancel culture” and described people saying they would boycott the brand as “bots and trolls.”

mike lindell white house
Mike Lindell in March 2020.

Lindell had told Insider that lost retailer revenue would cost the company about $65 million this year. He added during his livestream on Monday that MyPillow had 2,500 employees, many of whom had stock in the company.

But Lindell said that this wasn’t the main reason for his lawsuit.

“It’s not about the money,” he said. “It’s about our First Amendment rights.”

In January, Twitter barred Lindell for sharing voter-fraud conspiracy theories on the site. It suspended MyPillow’s account after Lindell used it to evade his personal ban and accused Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey of being “tied into the election fraud.”

Lindell said he has spent millions building his own social-media site. Frank has the tagline “the voice of free speech,” and he has said that he would use the site to share voter-fraud evidence.

Lindell said in mid-March that he hadn’t been back to his home in Minnesota for two months and had been moving among “undisclosed locations” because he feared for his safety.

This article has been updated.

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Mike Lindell says his company MyPillow is suing Dominion for $1.6 billion

mike lindell trump
Mike Lindell with then-President Donald Trump at the White House in March 2020.

  • Mike Lindell said his company MyPillow is suing Dominion for $1.6 billion.
  • Dominion had filed an earlier $1.3 billion lawsuit against Lindell over his voter-fraud conspiracy theories.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

MyPillow is suing Dominion Voting Systems for $1.6 billion, its CEO Mike Lindell said Monday.

The suit appears to be a counterattack after Dominion filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against both the company and its Lindell in February.

MyPillow has now sued Dominion for $1.6 billion, Lindell announced in a livestream on his social-media site Frank on Monday.

“This is all about the first amendment rights and free speech,” Lindell said.

Frank Mike Lindell
Mike Lindell during a livestreamed launch of his social-media site, Frank, on April 19, 2021.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the suit makes a distinction between MyPillow and Lindell, arguing that the CEO was speaking on his own behalf when alleging election fraud.

Insider was not immediately able to locate documents to verify details of the suit.

Lindell, a major GOP donor, is a staunch ally of former president Donald Trump and has repeatedly supported his claims challenging the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

Lindell spread the conspiracy theory claiming that Dominion Voting Systems developed technology to switch votes from Trump to President Joe Biden. The theory has been thoroughly debunked.

Per the Journal, MyPillow in the lawsuit said “in making these statements, Lindell spoke for himself, not MyPillow,” the suit says. “MyPillow has not engaged in discussion about the 2020 election.”

Alan Dershowitz, Lindell’s lawyer for the case, discussed the lawsuit alongside Lindell during the livestream on Monday.

“I’ve been defending the first amendment for 60 years, and I’m not going to stop now,” Dershowitz said.

Dominion sued Lindell, Powell, Giuliani, and Fox News

On February 22, Dominion filed a defamation suit against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell after filing similar ones against pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell, Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Fox News.

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, and that Dominion built its machines “to cheat.”

Lindell previously told Insider that 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.”

More than 20 retailers have severed ties with MyPillow

In its 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.

But Lindell’s lawsuit said that Dominion has caused “grave harm” to MyPillow “as a result of Dominion’s suppression of speech and attacks on the Company, per The Wall Street Journal.

But retailers have scrambled to cut ties with the brand following the insurrection and Lindell’s insistence that the election result was fraudulent.

More than 20 retailers, including Bed Bath and Beyond, Sam’s Club, Kohl’s, and most recently Costco, have stopped selling MyPillow’s products.

Some of the companies cited poor sales, but Lindell blamed it on “cancel culture” and said that people saying they would boycott the brand were “bots and trolls.”

Lindell told Insider that lost retailer revenue would cost the company around $65 million this year, but he added that radio and podcast infomercials could plug the gap.

Twitter also banned Mike Lindell for sharing voter-fraud conspiracy theories on the site. It then suspended MyPillow’s account, too, after Lindell used it to evade his personal ban and accused Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey of being “tied into the election fraud.”

Lindell said in mid-March that he hadn’t been back to his home in Minnesota for two months, instead moving between “undisclosed locations,” and no longer attends in-person events because he fears for his safety.

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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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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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