A federal judge in the District on Wednesday ruled that Dominion Voting Systems‘ three defamation lawsuits can proceed against former Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols rejected the three Trump allies’ requests to dismiss the suits, which allege that they made false and defamatory claims that the voting company rigged the 2020 election in favor of President Biden.
The voting machine provider is seeking $1.3 billion in each of the three lawsuits, which have been consolidated.
In the 44-page ruling, Judge Nichols denied Mr. Giuliani’s claim that Dominion should only be allowed to recover lost profits as special damages because it is a corporation.
The court, he said, is “not aware” of any case that requires a corporate plaintiff alleging defamation against itself to plead special damages.
“Dominion alleges that Giuliani made defamatory statements about its involvement in the 2020 election, that the people who believed those statements made threats to Dominion employees and board members, and that those threats required Dominion to spend more than $565,000 on private security to protect its employees,” the ruling states.
It also states that the company claims it “suffered economic harm in the form of additional expenses that it would not have incurred if not for Giuliani’s alleged defamation, as well as the loss of future contracts.”
Dominion alleges that it lost profits with adequate specificity, therefore it survives Mr. Giuliani’s dismissal request, he said.
The judge also rejected Ms. Powell’s claims that her alleged statements are not defamatory because they were opinions, not fact.
“Dominion has adequately alleged that Powell made a number of statements that are actionable because a reasonable juror could conclude that they were either statements of fact or statements of opinion that implied or relied upon facts that are provably false,” the judge wrote.
In the ruling, Judge Nichols also found that Dominion adequately alleged that Mr. Lindell knowingly made claims that “were false or with reckless disregard to the truth.”
“In addition to alleging that Lindell’s claims are inherently improbable, that his sources are unreliable, and that he has failed to acknowledge the validity of countervailing evidence, Dominion has alleged numerous instances in which Lindell told audiences to purchase MyPillow products after making his claims of election fraud and providing MyPillow promotional codes related to those theories,” he wrote.
Judge Nichols also denied Ms. Powell and Mr. Lindell’s claims that the D.C. court lacks jurisdiction over the cases, finding that it is the proper venue because some of their alleged conduct happened in the city.
The decision comes the day after Dominion filed three similar election-related defamation lawsuits against Newsmax, One America News and Patrick Byrne, the founder and former CEO of Overstock.com.
The complaints — which each seek $1.6 billion — are the latest in a series of legal actions brought by the company, which says it is “taking steps to defend our good name and reputation.”
• Emily Zantow can be reached at email@example.com.
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