After working for months to advance the baseless conspiracy theory that the voting machine manufacturer Dominion had worked with Venezuela to rig the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump, former campaign lawyer Sidney Powell is requesting that the election software company drop its defamation lawsuit against her on the grounds that nobody with half a brain could have taken what she was saying as fact.
In the lawsuit in question, Dominion specifically alleges that Powell, in her role as a Trump campaign attorney, had claimed “during a Washington, D.C. press conference, a Georgia political rally, and a media blitz,” that the company “had rigged the election, that Dominion was created in Venezuela to rig elections for Hugo Chávez, and that Dominion bribed Georgia officials for a no-bid contract.”
In a December letter, Dominion had accused Powell of unleashing a “multi-media disinformation ‘Kraken’” upon the company, and of waging a ruthless campaign of lies that had “endangered Dominion’s business and the lives of its employees.” The election software company is currently seeking $US1.3 ($2) billion in damages.
But in a Monday court filing, Powell moved to dismiss the complaint against her, arguing through her attorneys that her comments about Dominion were protected under her First Amendment right, and that “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”
“All the allegedly defamatory statements attributed to Defendants were made as part of the normal process of litigating issues of momentous significance and immense public interest,” the motion reads.
It would all be a bit easier to stomach, maybe, had Powell’s very specific claims not been the subject of at least four lawsuits she had filed in key battleground states in order to sway the election in Trump’s favour — all of which were summarily struck down. All in all, Powell and Trump’s other legal lackey, attorney and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, helped to file at least 61 lawsuits in various U.S. courts on the former president’s behalf, all of which were ultimately tossed out by judges and all of which trafficked in various forms of conspiracy and misinformation.
The “Stop the Steal” disinformation campaign being waged by Trump and his allies infamously came to a head on January 6, when, outraged by their earnest belief that Trump had been cheated out of a second term, a hoard of angry supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
In its initial complaint, Dominion claimed that the lawsuit was being brought in part to ameliorate the harmful effects of those claims of fraud.
“Dominion brings this action to set the record straight, to vindicate the company’s rights under civil law, to recover compensatory and punitive damages, to seek a narrowly tailored injunction, and to stand up for itself and its employees,” the company wrote.