WASHINGTON (CN) — Caught in the crossfire of the Trump campaign’s 2020 election fraud claims, a voting machine company brought a $1.3 billion defamation suit Friday over the “demonstrably false” allegations from attorney Sidney Powell that it had helped “steal the vote” from President Donald Trump.
Represented by Thomas Clare of Clare Locke in Alexandria, Virginia, Dominion Voting Systems lobbed the massive 124-page complaint in Washington, D.C., taking aim both at Powell and her fundraising arm Defending the Republic. Powell did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
A former federal prosecutor in the Western District of Texas, the 65-year-old lawyer has been on the outs with the Trump campaign for over a month but continues to advance baseless claims of election fraud, most recently in an emergency application to the Supreme Court on behalf of Congressman Louis Gohmert.
Dominion says Powell began smearing its name to dispute the results of the 2020 race that elected Democrat Joe Biden over the incumbent Trump.
“This lawsuit aims to hold Powell accountable for her egregious and prolific falsities against Dominion,” the company said in a statement Friday. “Today is the first step to restore our good name and faith in elections by holding those responsible to account.” It noted that its legal team is also investigating suits against others “who have participated directly in the defamatory campaign — as well as those who have recklessly provided a platform for these discredited allegations."
Dozens of screenshots of Powell’s various media appearances dot the pages of the complaint, which link her frothing of the Trump base to a possible 2024 presidential bid.
Though Dominion was founded nearly two decades ago in Toronto by John Poulos, the complaint says Powell continues “to peddle the falsehood that Dominion was created in Venezuela to rig elections for Hugo Chávez, and had in fact rigged the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election by using ‘algorithms’ in its machines to change the ballots and to ‘flip’ and ‘shave’ votes.”
Right-wing news outlets Fox and Newsmax later went on the record with reports debunking the fraud claims, the latter doing so only after it was threatened with litigation.
But Dominion says Powell has “doubled down,” tweeting in response to a Dec. 16 letter from Dominion that she was “retracting nothing.”
“We have #evidence,” Powell tweeted. “They are #fraud masters!”
On January 3, Powell followed up with a tweet alleging that Dominion had shredded thousands of Trump votes and switched thousands of others to be for Biden.
This was days before Congress was set to certify Biden’s electoral win — a ceremony that was temporarily waylaid by an armed insurrection of Trump supporters. Before the storming of the Capitol building, the complaint notes that even “Republican Senate Majority Leader and Trump loyalist Mitch McConnell called the claims Powell had been peddling for months ‘sweeping conspiracy theories’ that incited doubt ‘without any evidence.’”
Dominion’s lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, but CEO Poulos told the Washington Post on Friday that the lawsuit is about clearing his company’s name.
“We feel that it’s important for the entire electoral process,” he told the Post. “The allegations, I know they were lobbed against us ... but the impacts go so far beyond us.”
Among the many baseless claims from Powell quoted in the complaint is a November 17 interview with Newsmax where she claimed to have video of Dominion’s founder saying he could “change a million votes, no problem at all.”
“Powell never tweeted out such a video because it does not exist,” the complaint says. “The video does not exist because no such statement was ever made, nor would it be made, by Dominion’s founder.”
What’s more, Dominion says it has “mountains of evidence conclusively disproving Powell’s vote-manipulation claims,” including Georgia’s statewide hand count that confirmed its machines correctly tabulated votes.
Despite this, Trump retweeted Powell’s interview claiming she had evidence to his roughly 88 million followers, “instantly and irreparably damaging Dominion’s reputation and business to a global audience and putting the lives of Dominion employees in danger,” according to the complaint.
Dominion’s lawsuit comes a month after Dominion employee Eric Coomer claimed in a separate lawsuit that the false claims spread by Powell, Trump’s campaign and Rudy Giuliani had driven him into hiding. The company has said it has invested over half a million dollars on security for its employees since the election.
L. Lin Wood, who worked with Powell on her 2020 election-related lawsuits and often appeared with her at public speaking events where they solicited donations for the lawsuits, told the Washington Post he is representing her Friday.
“I haven’t seen the lawsuit, but I don’t have any concerns about Dominion,” he said.
Despite the Trump team’s accusations, the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency declared the Nov. 3rd election “the most secure in American history.” With 81 million votes, Biden won 306 electoral votes and the 2020 election. He will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021.Follow @@lexandrajones
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