Voting Machine Company Sues Giuliani for Defamation
WASHINGTON — Another Trump administration lawyer was hit with a billion-dollar plus lawsuit for defamation Monday after he alleged the company that supplied the voting machines in the 2020 presidential election was implicated in fraud.
This time the defendant is Rudolph W. Giuliani, former New York City mayor and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. Last week, Dominion Voting Systems sued Sidney Powell, a former Trump campaign lawyer.
Both Powell and Giuliani said Dominion is a Venezuelan enterprise and that its machines changed thousands of votes from Trump to President Joe Biden.
Giuliani said in public statements that a “forensic report” found 6,000 votes in Antrim County, Mich., were switched to Biden.
He also called the voting machines “these crooked Dominion machines” during a speech.
The statements were denied by state officials in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where many of the accusations of voter fraud were centered. In addition, a hand count of ballots proved the Dominion machines provided accurate vote counts.
“As a result of the defamatory falsehoods peddled by Giuliani—in concert with … other like-minded allies and media outlets determined to promote a false preconceived narrative about the 2020 election—Dominion’s founder and employees have been harassed and have received death threats, and Dominion has suffered unprecedented and irreparable harm,” says the Dominion lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
It claims $1.3 billion in damages against Giuliani, who the lawsuit says propagated a “Big Lie” against Dominion.
The lawsuits are part of a mounting list of problems for Trump.
As Democrats in the Senate push for an impeachment trial, Justice Department officials are saying Trump plotted earlier this month to replace the acting attorney general with a Justice Department lawyer who would help overturn the November election results.
Days earlier, Georgia election officials disclosed inappropriate efforts by Trump to convince them to falsify the vote count that gave Biden a slim margin of victory in the state.
The lawsuit against Giuliani presents unusual questions of law because of his status as the president’s lawyer, according to legal experts.
Giuliani made the statements in public appearances while representing Trump in his lawsuits that challenged the election results. Nearly all of the lawsuits were dismissed.
Giuliani’s statements would not get an immunity from civil liability, said Mark Graber, a University of Maryland Carey School of Law professor.
“Most states have laws privileging statements made in a lawsuit,” Graber told The Well News. “That would include statements made in a legal brief or in a legal argument, but not statements made to the media about the lawsuit.”
If Giuliani knew the accusations were false, he could face further consequences even if he made them in legal briefs, Graber said.
“Indeed, Guiliani may well be subject to bar discipline if his brief contained defamation statements he knew to be false,” Graber said.
Giuliani so far has refused to retract his allegations against Dominion. He also threatened a countersuit on Monday.
“The amount being asked for is, quite obviously, intended to frighten people of faint heart,” Giuliani said in a statement. “It is another act of intimidation by the hate-filled left-wing to wipe out and censor the exercise of free speech, as well as the ability of lawyers to defend their clients vigorously.”
Tom Clare, an attorney for Dominion, said, “There must be accountability for the disinformation campaign.” He added that Giuliani “made the company radioactive and destroyed the value of this company.”
He would not rule out another lawsuit against Trump, saying, “We’re looking at everybody.”
Hours after Dominion filed its lawsuit, the Justice Department’s inspector general said he plans to investigate whether department officials “engaged in an improper attempt” to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
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