Judge Says Voting Machine Company Can Continue To Sue Trump's Buddies Over Bogus Election Fraud Claims
from the but-will-they-be-judgment-proof-by-the-time-judgment-arrives? dept
A federal judge has said Dominion’s lawsuit against a former Trump lawyer can move forward. Sidney Powell — the self-proclaimed “Kraken” — was supposed to storm into federal courts and present irrefutable evidence President Joe Biden’s position as president had been fraudulently obtained.
Instead, Powell — like several other pro-Trump lawyers with more time than common sense — proved nothing but their own willful ignorance and inability to abide by the rules of their law licenses. Powell is not only facing a billion-dollar lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, but also possible sanctions in Michigan.
Powell has claimed her allegations against Dominion — repeated in press conferences and court filings — were just the heated rhetoric that often accompanies “disputed” elections (even if the Kraken was doing most of the disputing). While that may be a decent defense against defamation allegations (i.e., “no reasonable person would take my partisan shit-talking as statements of fact”), it kind of falls flat when the same allegations are presented as sworn allegations in court filings attempting to challenge the election outcome.
Powell’s assertions that the alleged defamation was just crazy talk have dead-ended in federal court. As the court sees it, Dominion should be allowed to move forward and dig into the “these are/aren’t facts” assertions by Sidney “Krack Happens” Powell. (h/t Brad Heath)
The court’s dismissal [PDF] of Powell’s motion to dismiss is this summer’s best beach read because it casts so much shade it makes the heat waves tolerable. And while it’s casting a long, low-key snarky shadow over Powell’s attempt to escape a billion-dollar judgment, it refuses to let any of her co-conspiracy theorists off the hook, like Rudy Giuliani and one of the weirdest symptoms of late-stage capitalism, hyper-partisan bedding manufacturer, MyPillow.
How far away from facts did these defendants get (allegedly)? Welp:
Dominion alleges that each Defendant made defamatory statements about its role in the 2020 election. Those statements are too numerous to summarize in their entirety…
But many are still summarized. It takes several pages. A large portion of the alleged defamatory remarks were delivered via social media platforms and contained multiple exclamation points, which are considered marks of authenticity by the sort of people who are easily swayed by exclamation points.
The court also discusses Mike Lindell and MyPillow. It goes further than social media accounts. Lindell also runs his own production company, which has produced a “documentary” about the “fraudulent” 2020 election that is promoted nonstop by Lindell.
All three defendants want out of this lawsuit. Powell raises jurisdictional counterarguments as well as her patented “but I was just talking out of my ass!” defense. Giuliani asserts that Dominion’s claims for damages are improper. And Lindell claims his company hasn’t actually made any statements about the election, even if he’s been using the company’s money (and social media accounts) to make claims about the election.
None of this matters, at least as this point. Dominion’s lawsuits can continue, says the court, while taking some shots at the attempting-to-flee defendants. As for Powell, the former Trump lawyer, there’s this opening admonishment:
As an initial matter, there is no blanket immunity for statements that are “political” in nature…
Powell cannot shield herself from liability for her widely disseminated out-of-court statements by casting them as protected statements about in-court litigation; an attorney’s out-of-court statements to the public can be actionable, even if those statements concern contemplated or ongoing litigation.
Powell has stated publicly that she has “evidence from [the] mouth of the guy who founded [Dominion] admit[ting that] he can change a million votes, no problem at all.” PShe told audiences that she would “tweet out the video.” These statements are either true or not; either Powell has a video depicting the founder of Dominion saying he can “change a million votes,” or she does not.
Lindell and MyPillow get slapped even harder. The court notes that Lindell claims he can back up his statements with verifiable facts but has yet to present any evidence that supports his claims that Dominion “flipped” votes and conspired to throw the election for Biden. This sets the table for this amazing sentence by the court — one that should make Lindell fear for his finances.
As a preliminary matter, 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.
If Lindell isn’t staggered by this sentence, he’s stupider than he appears. And this gets added on top of that:
Dominion also alleges that Lindell was made aware of that countervailing evidence in Dominion’s retraction letters, id. ¶¶ 63, 69, but—instead of reconsidering his claims in light of the mountain of evidence against them—doubled down and “dare[d] Dominion to sue [him],” id. ¶ 160.
Lindell must love compounding his mistakes. While this was being written, Lindell was in South Dakota hosting a 72-hour conspiracy theory-laden “cyber symposium” where he made additional claims about evidence he apparently doesn’t possess that cannot possibly back the claims about Dominion he continues to make.
Giuliani’s procedural motions are also tossed, allowing Dominion to continue to sue all three defendants. While it’s unlikely Dominion will extract more than a billion dollars from any of the individual defendants, it seems unlikely any of these Trump-toadying loudmouths will escape the lawsuits unscathed. They played to Trump’s base and are now in danger of losing. And it’s guaranteed the man they idolize will do nothing to save them from the consequences of their Trump-enabled actions. When you’re winning, Trump is willing to take part of the credit. But when you’re losing, you’re on your own.