A federal judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss defamation lawsuits filed by Dominion Voting Systems over election fraud claims made by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, lawyer Sidney Powell and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell.
Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia criticized the arguments made by Giuliani, Lindell and Powell in their motions to dismiss the lawsuits.
In January and February, Dominion filed three defamation lawsuits against Giuliani, Lindell and Powell, arguing that the company had incurred more than $1 billion in total damages as a result of the trio’s claims of rampant voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Dominion sufficiently showed that Giuliani’s statements directly led to lost profits, Nichols wrote in the order, allowing the lawsuit to proceed.
Giuliani had argued that Dominion failed to adequately plead the damages incurred as a result of his comments.
In Powell’s motion to dismiss, she had argued that “reasonable people” would not treat her allegations against Dominion as statements of fact.
Lindell had argued that the First Amendment enabled him to speak about alleged voter fraud, saying the lawsuit against him and others was “intended to compel compliance and restrict the marketplace of ideas to a single viewpoint.”
“It is true that courts recognize the value in some level of ‘imaginative expression’ or ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ in our public debate,” Nichols wrote.
“But it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.”
He said that a reasonable juror could conclude the defendants’ statements expressed or implied a “verifiably false fact” about Dominion’s role in the election.
Nichols added that it “is not a close call.”
Giuliani and Powell led legal efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election after President Joe Biden was declared the winner.
Nichols noted that the trio claimed Dominion was connected to the Venezuelan government and paid off states to use its technology.
“A reasonable juror could conclude that the existence of a vast international conspiracy that is ignored by the government but proven by a spreadsheet on an internet blog is so inherently improbable that only a reckless man would believe it,” Nichols said in his ruling.
Lawyers representing Dominion said they were “pleased to see this process moving forward” in a statement following Nichols’ order.
“No amount of money can repair the damage that’s been done by these lies, which are easily disproved,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement after the company announced the Lindell lawsuit in February.
“Hundreds of documented audits and recounts have proven that Dominion machines accurately counted votes. We look forward to proving these facts in a court of law.”
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