Following November’s election, a number of former President Donald Trump’s allies leveled serious but unproven allegations that Dominion Voting Systems aided in rigging the results in favor of President Joe Biden.
The company responded by filing defamation lawsuits — and now, a federal judge has rejected motions by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell to dismiss the suits.
Defendants make their case
According to The Hill, D.C. District Judge Carl Nichols handed down a decision this week that allows the lawsuits seeking $1.3 billion each to proceed to the next phase of litigation.
In his 44-page ruling, Nichols recounted some of the claims made by the defendants before methodically rejecting the reasons presented for dismissing the defamation suits.
For starters, the judge declined Powell’s claims that the D.C. court did not have jurisdiction, that her statements were not meant to be factual assertations, that her accusations did not result from “actual malice,” and that she was not engaged in deceptive business practices to raise her profile and earn a profit as Dominion had claimed.
In response to Lindell, Nichols rejected similar arguments, including that his statements about the company were protected as “debate” on a public issue.
As for Giuliani, who argued that Dominion could only sue for “special damages” and “lost profits” attributable to his remarks, Nichols also shot down his claim.
“Litigating this case on its merits”
According to Politico, a Dominion spokesperson responded with a statement celebrating the win in court.
“We are pleased to see this process moving forward to hold Mike Lindell, MyPillow, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Defending The Republic accountable,” the spokesperson said.
The latter entity refers to a non-profit organization affiliated with Powell, whose attorney issued his own statement in response to the recent ruling.
“We are disappointed with the Court’s decision,” said Howard Kleinhendler. “However, we now look forward to litigating this case on its merits and proving that Ms. Powell’s statements were accurate and certainly not published with nalice. We also anticipate taking full discovery of Dominion including a thorough review of its election software and machines used in the 2020 election.”
While many of Trump’s supporters are sure to join Kleinhendler in his disappointment, it is worth noting that this ruling is just a preliminary step in the litigation process and it remains to be seen how Dominion’s defamation suits will ultimately pan out.