Smartmatic Sues MyPillow CEO For Defamation Over His Months Of Nonstop Election Conspiracy Theories

from the making-himself-poorer-and-other-people-dumber dept

Hope Mike Lindell has socked away some of his MyPillow millions. Trump toadying is proving to be an expensive hobby, and it’s not as though the former president is doing anything to repay those whose support has been absurdly unwavering with anything like, you know, legal assistance. Or actual money.

Trump cohorts and legal reps are being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for the weeks of (alleged) defamation they engaged in following Trump’s loss at the polls. The MyPillow CEO is being sued by Dominion for the same thing, thanks to his sudden ascendance into the public sphere — a position he used to spread plenty of false (and easily disproved) “stolen election” theories.

Lindell responded to being sued by Dominion with a lawsuit of his own — one that claimed Dominion’s lawsuit was unconstitutionally silencing his company by naming it as a defendant. His lawsuit pointed out (correctly) that Lindell made all of the allegedly defamatory assertions before going on to claim his company was being censored by Dominion, preventing it from saying all the things Lindell just finished claiming it had never said, nor would ever say.

Another voting tech company is now suing Lindell for defamation, raising a lot of the same allegations Dominion’s lawsuit did. Smartmatic — which was dragged into the post-election shitstorm by Trump acolytes pushing conspiracy theories — says Lindell made tons of false claims about the company being involved in the “theft” of votes, as well as being compromised by Chinese hackers during the 2020 election. (h/t Mike Dunford)

The lawsuit [PDF] doesn’t waste any time letting the judge (and Lindell) know exactly what Smartmatic thinks of him and his assertions.

Crazy like a fox. Mike Lindell knows exactly what he is doing, and it is dangerous.

Mr. Lindell knows Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. He knows the election was not rigged, fixed, or stolen. He knows voting machines did not switch votes from former President Trump to now President Biden.

These facts do not matter to Mr. Lindell because he knows he can sell. Mr. Lindell knows he can sell xenophobia. He knows he can sell conspiracy theory. He knows he can sell a preconceived story about voting machines stealing democracy by stealing votes from a president who is incredibly popular with millions of Americans. And, of course, Mr. Lindell—“the MyPillow Guy”—knows he needs to sell pillows to keep and increase his fortune.

That last point is repeated throughout the lawsuit: Lindell leveraged his position as the CEO of MyPillow to make public appearances. And he leveraged these public appearances to advertise for his company. The two are intertwined, even if, as Lindell claims, the company itself has never issued a public statement purporting to be the business’s official take on election fraud theories.

Here’s what’s bothering Smartmatic:

Mr. Lindell’s message was as dangerous as it was factually inaccurate. Mr. Lindell told people that Smartmatic stole the 2020 U.S. election. He told people that Smartmatic’s election technology, hardware, and software were hacked by China and other foreign countries. He told people that Smartmatic election technology, hardware, and software were developed for the sole purpose of stealing foreign elections by switching votes. And he told people that Smartmatic deployed its election technology, hardware, and software to do just that in the 2020 U.S. election. All lies.

Unlike Dominion’s multiple, multi-billion dollar lawsuits, Smartmatic’s lawsuit does not seek a set amount in damages. This suggests it has more than enough evidence on hand to show how Lindell’s false statements harmed it. And the narrative that the 136-page lawsuit details is one in which Lindell — despite being aware other entities like Fox News had retracted false claims about Smartmatic — continued to make the same, disproven assertions over and over again.

The lawsuit lays out — in great detail — the false claims made by Lindell on Fox News, as well as on other networks seeking to “outFox” the former leader in conspiratorial conservatives, like OAN and Newsmax. This went on for weeks, long after other conspiracy theorists had decided to abandon the “stolen” election narrative. The longer Lindell continued, the more evidence contradicting his claims he willingly ignored, as Smartmatic points out:

Mr. Lindell had obvious reasons to doubt what he was saying about Smartmatic outside of the 2020 U.S. election because it had been publicly debunked for months prior to his statements.

[…]

Mr. Lindell possessed and had access to a significant volume of information that contradicted the story he told about Smartmatic. Mr. Lindell reviewed this information (and therefore knew his statements and implications were false) and/or purposefully avoided reviewing this information because he did not want to know the truth.

A minimal amount of investigation would easily establish the falsity of Mr. Lindell’s statements about Smartmatic’s role in the U.S. election. Mr. Lindell has stated that he spent millions of dollars investigating Smartmatic. He would have needed to spend only a fraction of that amount to learn of Smartmatic’s limited, secure role as a voting technology and services provider in Los Angeles County.

Lindell’s persistence in the face of actual facts is likely to cost him more than just the legal fees he’ll spend defending himself against this lawsuit. Smartmatic’s lawsuit points out dozens of false statements made by Lindell that had already been disproven by the time he started making these assertions. That’s actual malice and it’s going to be very hard for Lindell to argue he was just engaging in heated political rhetoric that got a little out of hand. He has attached his personal brand — along with MyPillow’s — to bizarre conspiracy theories that originated from a small but vocal minority that simply cannot bring themselves to believe their president got voted out of office.

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Comments on “Smartmatic Sues MyPillow CEO For Defamation Over His Months Of Nonstop Election Conspiracy Theories”

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23 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Samuel Abram (profile) says:

My question is this…

Is Mike Lindell going to use the "I’m just an entertainer so no one could believe what’s coming out of my mouth" defense? Because while it worked for Alex Jones and Tucker Carlson, Sidney Powell tried it but she laid flat on her face because she’s not an entertainer but a lawyer which meant that judges believed her and she got sanctioned for that.

It’s interesting to see how Mike Lindell is going to have to defend himself from his inexcusable behavior.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: My question is this…

Having listened to the GAM teardowns of his two ‘movies’ about the election if he tried to argue that he was so batshit insane that he can’t be changed with defamation because he believed all of it and/or he was just being hyperbolic I would be tempted to believe the first half at least, however given the ‘I’m crazy/a liar so you can’t charge me with defamation’ would likely rather undermine the grift he’s aiming at Trump cultists that would probably be a last-ditch effort for him, and it’s quite possible he’s nuts/arrogant enough to think that he can get away with his actions via the simple ‘Nuh uh’ defense.

Sidney Powell tried it but she laid flat on her face because she’s not an entertainer but a lawyer which meant that judges believed her and she got sanctioned for that.

Yeah, the ‘I was just making things up, that doesn’t count’ defense doesn’t work out so well when the things you’re trying to dismiss with the argument are statements you’ve argued in court and under oath as being true. Delightful self-own that.

It’s interesting to see how Mike Lindell is going to have to defend himself from his inexcusable behavior.

Double-down on the conspiracy theories, break out the persecution-complex that’s the go-to for people like him, and con the gullible fools who still believe him into giving him money so he can defend himself against the vile libs trying to silence him would be my guess.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: My question is this…

the ‘I’m crazy/a liar so you can’t charge me with defamation’ would likely rather undermine the grift he’s aiming at Trump cultists

Not even a little bit. "He had to say that to protect himself from the George Soros funded commie lawsuit," they’ll tell Jordan Klepper in a few months. The cult will believe any old contradictory thing, and the only way he could turn them against himself is by denouncing Trump or promoting public health measures.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: My question is this…

A very good point, hell I argued below that it’s beyond easy to con Trump cultists in another way so I’m sure you’re dead on and it would be trivial to spin him arguing that he’s a liar and/or insane to worm out of a case as as ‘necessary lie that doesn’t actually mean anything’.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: My question is this…

IIRC, Jones’ lawyers tried that defence but he shut down that line of argument himself. He’s certainly very much on the hook in the most recent lawsuits he’s lost.

As for Lindell, I fear that he’s an actual true believer who has taken too much from his own supply. I expect him to go down kicking and screaming claiming that he’s a victim, blissfully unaware that most of the people who previously humoured him are just laughing at him now. I’ve heard recent clips of him whining on Infowars that Fox has abandoned him since they stopped taking his ad money.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Alex Jones

…it worked for Alex Jones…

But did it?
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/28/alex-jones-infowars-loses-primary-custody-his-kids/101017394/

From the article:

a small but vocal minority that simply cannot bring themselves to believe their president got voted out of office.

Freedictionary says the modern interpretation means that yeah, that fat blustering moron got voted out of office.

Quora says that no, a sitting US President cannot be "voted out office" by anything.

I think perhaps a guilty verdict in a US Senate vote in an impeachment hearing counts… and we didn’t have that here — twice.

But hey, no tetrapyloctomy here. That previous guy was a divisive lying blowhard. His friend MPG is a divisive lying crack-addict-brain-addled blowhard.

Comingling corporate resources (including TV airtime, interviews, conventions, etc.) is a clear opening to piercing the corporate veil. MPG has put MP, Inc. in an untenable position, and no matter how you dress up and pose a stuffed pig… it’s still a pig.

Is MPG a joke? Is CT a joke? Is the loser in the elections a joke? Did anyone violate any statutes or laws in this general absurdity of post-election head/sand interaction? The US Senate says no. I guess I’m hopeful the courts rule otherwise.

Ehud

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'What do you mean speech has consequences?! Not for me!'

While I admittedly might be way off due to some legal shenanigans it seems to me that when you cross the line from ‘This is my opinion of what happened’ to ‘This is absolutely what happened and I have proof’ you’ve opened yourself wide open for defamation charges, and when your claims involve massive wide-scale vote fraud related to a presidential election the companies and individuals involved are probably not going to just shrug that off.

Now there does seem to be a simple way to get this and any similar lawsuit tossed immediately as it’s not defamation if it’s true, but given the Trump cult’s… shall we say ‘difficulty’ in finding evidence to support their case that can stand up in court and under scrutiny that might be a tall ask for Lindell.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: 'What do you mean speech has consequences?! Not for me!'

"when you cross the line from ‘This is my opinion of what happened’ to ‘This is absolutely what happened and I have proof’ you’ve opened yourself wide open for defamation charges"

Yeah, what’s important here is that Lindell keeps claiming he has irrefutable proof, then mysteriously that proof either doesn’t appear or is debunked in seconds by actual experts in the field.

Given that one of his most recent claims is that he had evidence that could get up to 300 million people locked up for life, it could be that he’s either going for the insanity plea or that his crack habit has returned, but it’s likely that he’s just another poor deluded soul who swallowed the lies, he just happened to have enough money and profile to lose his mind publicly.

If you’re working the grift, Lindell’s constant claims that he has evidence or Trump’s regular promises of something happening in 2 weeks might be effective in the medium term. But, at some point someone’s going to ask you where the evidence is, or why nothing happened after 2 weeks…

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'What do you mean speech has consequences?! Not for me!'

If you’re working the grift, Lindell’s constant claims that he has evidence or Trump’s regular promises of something happening in 2 weeks might be effective in the medium term. But, at some point someone’s going to ask you where the evidence is, or why nothing happened after 2 weeks…

How low do you think my opinion of the MAGA kool-aid drinkers are? Whatever you think it is, it’s even lower than that…

sumgai (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'What do you mean speech has consequences?! Not for

Would that opinion be lower than a whale turd on the bottom of the ocean? The kind where orange persons are so low that they need a ladder to climb up to the bottom of that turd? Tell us, sir, just how low is your opinion of these "fake humans posing as Americans"?

Personally, I view them as pod people, but YMMV.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 'What do you mean speech has consequences?!

Random unrelated confession time – I’ve never really "got" MST3K. I’m a huge horror fan, I have been known to watch a lot of bad movies both ironically and for actual entertainment. But, I never got the appeal of people talking over them if I’m not several beers in, physically taking part in the conversation.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'What do you mean speech has consequences?! Not for me!'

If you’re working the grift, Lindell’s constant claims that he has evidence or Trump’s regular promises of something happening in 2 weeks might be effective in the medium term. But, at some point someone’s going to ask you where the evidence is, or why nothing happened after 2 weeks…

I feel like you are vastly overestimating Trump cultists and how easy it is to kick that particular can down the road. As their Dear Leader showed all you need to do is confidently keep asserting that you do have the evidence and you’ll release it any day now when the time is right and you can keep those suckers hooked and handing over money for months if not longer.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'What do you mean speech has consequences?! Not for

I’d love to hear more about the scope of the evidence, although it’s doubtful that it exists. I mean, are we talking 300 million Americans (in which case that’s roughly everyone in the US over the age of 5 – including Trump voters, so it seems weird he’d get them locked up too). Or, given that around 81 million people voted for Biden, is he saying they were all illegal and they were helped by 219 million other people around the world?

Even though he’s clearly delusional, I’d be fascinated as to the details of the delusion.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 'What do you mean speech has consequences?!

Maybe. You can never tell with the guy, since he seems to be not only a true believer in his claims, but also seems to be an easy mark for con artists. For example, the "cyber symposium" last year that he similarly claimed would present such evidence that it would immediately cause legal responses to restore Trump was based almost entirely on claims made by Dennis Montgomery, and known con artist most famous for scamming $20 million from the Pentagon with false claims). 10 minutes of due diligence would have made it obvious that he was being lied to in most of the embarrassing failures he’s presented since the 2020 election, yet here he is still saying things that anyone listening knows is a fraud.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he came up with the number on the spot and didn’t think it through. But, I also wouldn’t be surprised if another con artist is telling him what he wants to hear and is laughing all the way to the bank knowing that Lindell doesn’t understand anything before he says it.

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