Attorneys for lawyer Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell argued Thursday during a federal district court in the District of Columbia that a defamation lawsuit filed by elections technology firm Dominion Voting Systems should be thrown out.
They argued that Dominion acted in a government capacity during the last election by providing counties with election software. As a result, their lawyers said the firm has to prove Powell and Lindell acted with malice when they made claims against the company after the Nov. 3 election, citing previous court cases that barred public officials from filing lawsuits against individuals who criticized them.
“If you are criticizing the government … that is not actionable,” Doug Daniels, an attorney for Lindell, said in court on Thursday, adding the company should be classified as a government entity “because they’re administering the election.”
But Tom Clare, Dominion’s attorney who filed billion-dollar lawsuits against the three, disagreed with that argument.
“They’re trying to tag us falsely with the label of a government actor,” Clare said, reported USA Today. “Dominion doesn’t administer elections. Election officials do using the tools made by Dominion … That is a critical distinction.”
Powell, Lindell, and several top Dominion officials appeared in the federal court. Giuliani did not but was represented by his lawyer, Joseph Sibley.
Giuliani, Powell, and Lindell previously have filed motions asking a judge to toss Dominion’s suits against them, which the company has opposed.
“We are excited to see this process move forward to hold people accountable and defend Dominion’s good name,” said Dominion in a statement to The Epoch Times about Thursday’s hearing.
Powell’s attorney, Howard Kleinhendler, also asserted Thursday she is protected and didn’t act with malice because she used witness affidavits that were submitted in court. And lawyers for Powell and Lindell, meanwhile, argued that MyPillow and a fundraising website used by Powell shouldn’t be able to be sued in Washington.
Furthermore, according to Kleinhendler, when Powell made public statements about the election, she used information from experts and they weren’t making allegations “out of thin air.”
Clare, however, said that Powell and the other defendants made allegations against Dominion outside the courtroom, pointing to their media appearances and social media posts.
“These were statements made in press conferences, in rallies, on social media, on television, including after the very lawsuits that they’re referencing to the court were dismissed and after United States district courts told the world that … the sources of these allegations were wholly unreliable,” Clare said.
Lindell’s and Powell’s attorneys have previously argued that Dominion—by filing the lawsuits—is trying to silence its critics, which goes against the First Amendment.
“This case is part of a coordinated crusade by [Dominion] to silence debate regarding a matter of the utmost public concern in a democratic society—the integrity of its elections,” Lindell’s lawyers wrote in court filings. “Plaintiffs are a private company hired by the government to perform the critical governmental function of helping to conduct free and fair elections. The freedom to speak openly in the public square about such subjects is a keystone foundational freedom of our democracy. It is under assault in this lawsuit.”
But Dominion’s attorneys have said that the three defendants post-Nov. 3 claims’ caused injury to the Toronto-based company. In lawsuits, the company said it suffered more than $600 million in lost profit and revenue, as well as other costs, while adding it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on enhanced private security.
“The harm to Dominion’s business and reputation is unprecedented and irreparable because of how fervently millions of people believe it,” its lawyers wrote in a lawsuit against Giuliani.
Dominion also filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News, accusing it of making false claims about the firm. Fox has moved to dismiss the case.