Dominion v Fox News: The people and networks still being sued by voting company over election lies

Dominion has pending lawsuits against right-wing networks Newsmax and OAN, and Trump allies Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, writes Bevan Hurley

Thursday 20 April 2023 11:42 BST
Comments

Dominion Voting Systems agreed to settle its defamation lawsuit with Fox News for $787.5m on Tuesday — but its legal battles are far from over.

While the Fox News case attracted most of the headlines, Dominion filed a swathe of defamation suits against right-wing networks, lawyers and media personalities in the months after the 2020 election.

Here’s everyone who is being sued by Dominion.

Mike Lindell

Mike Lindell has continued to spread false claims about Dominion while being sued for $1.3bn

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell emerged as arguably the most prominent Trump ally to engage in spreading fact-free conspiracy theories about Dominion’s voting machines being rigged to help Joe Biden win the 2020 election.

At rallies, television appearances, in a 90-minute “documentary” called Absolute Proof and on the streaming service he self-funds, Mr Lindell repeated widely debunked claims that Dominion had been infiltrated by a vast and ever-changing cast of ne'er-do-wells to commit voter fraud.

By February 2021, Dominion had had enough, and filed a damages claim seeking $1.3bn from the pillow salesman.

The lawsuit alleged that Mr Lindell had “knowingly lied about Dominion to sell more pillows to people who continued tuning in to hear what they wanted to hear about the election”.

Fox News eventually banned him from the network, even though he was a top advertiser.

In court filings in the Dominion case, Fox’s lawyers admitted to knowing he was not a reliable source of information when he appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show in January 2021.

Mr Lindell has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but his efforts to have the civil action dismissed have been unsuccessful.

In a ruling in the District of Columbia District Court in August 2021, Judge Carl Nicholas wrote: “In addition to alleging that Lindell’s claims are inherently improbable, that his sources are unreliable, and that he has failed to acknowledge the validity of countervailing evidence, Dominion has alleged numerous instances in which Lindell told audiences to purchase MyPillow products after making his claims of election fraud and providing MyPillow promotional codes related to those theories.”

Then in October 2022, Mr Lindell’s appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court.

Mr Lindell appears completely undeterred by the legal setbacks.

In March, he called on Dominion to “show us what’s inside your machines?” 

According to the New York Times, he described Dominion’s lawsuit as “the biggest cover-up for the biggest crime in United States history — probably in world history.”

Dominion’s attorneys will likely be keeping tabs on his public statements.

Sidney Powell

Sidney Powell promised to ‘release the Kraken’ after Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat

Sidney Powell emerged in the days after the 2020 election as a key figure in Magaworld’s effort to delegitimise Mr Biden’s victory.

As a member of the former president’s so-called “Elite Strike Force” legal team, Ms Powell promised she would “release the Kraken” – referring to a legendary sea monster – in an interview with Fox Business days after the November election.

The Dallas-based former federal prosecutor helped to file a slew of lawsuits that challenged the election results, all of which failed.

Her inflammatory public statements about election rigging, bribery and fraud led Dominion to file a $1.3bn defamation claim in January 2021.

“Powell’s statements were calculated to — and did in fact — provoke outrage and cause Dominion enormous harm,” an attorney for Dominion wrote in the lawsuit.

Dominion alleged in the lawsuit that Ms Powell had used the profile gained from media appearances to raise money through a company called Defending the Republic, which is also named as a defendant in the suit.

Ms Powell tweeted in response that the claims were designed to “harass, intimidate, & to drain our resources as we seek the truth of #DominionVotingSystems' role in this fraudulent election”.

Rudy Giuliani

Hair dye runs down Giuliani’s cheek during a bizarre press conference in November 2020

With hair dye dripping down the side of his face, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed Dominion had used Venezuelan technology, approved by the late Hugo Chavez, and supported by Cuba and China, to rig the 2020 presidential election.

The comical scene at a press conference in mid-November 2020 was part of “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion,” the company alleged in a $1.3bn lawsuit filed two months later.

Dominion’s attorneys again claimed that Mr Giuliani had been motivated by financial gain as he made false election fraud accusations in media appearances, on Twitter and his YouTube show.

Mr Giuliani had “cashed in by hosting a podcast where he exploited election falsehoods to market gold coins, supplements, cigars and protection from ‘cyberthieves,’” Dominion’s attorneys wrote.

Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement that even the family and friends of its employees were among those who were duped by the avalanche of lies.

Mr Giuliani responded that he welcomed Dominion’s lawsuit as it would allow him to “investigate their history, finances and practices fully and completely”.

Newsmax

Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly interviewing Donald Trump

After the 2020 election, the Chris Ruddy-owned right-wing news channel Newsmax saw its market share increase as it refused to acknowledge Mr Biden’s victory and hosted a string of election-denying conspiracists.

In doing so, Newsmax “helped create and cultivate an alternate reality where up is down, pigs have wings, and Dominion engaged in a colossal fraud to steal the presidency from Donald Trump by rigging the vote”, Dominion said in a $1.6bn lawsuit filed in August 2021.

“For Ruddy and Newsmax, the facts did not matter. What mattered was feeding the audience what it wanted — even if it was spreading false information. And the race to the bottom began in earnest, dragging Dominion down with it,” the lawsuit argued.

In June last year, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis denied Newsmax’s motion to dismiss and ruled the lawsuit could proceed.

In a statement to ABC News, a Newsmax spokesman said it was confident of defending the case under First Amendment protections.

“Newsmax reported on both sides in the election dispute without making any claim about the results other than saying they were ‘legal and final,’” the statement said. 

One America News (OAN)

OAN host Chanel Rion has been accused of spreading false claims about Dominion

Dominion filed a $1.6bn lawsuit against One America News in August 2021, claiming that, like Newsmax, the San Diego-based cable channel had “spread false and manufactured stories about election fraud”.

“Dominion quickly became the focus of this downward spiral of lies, as each broadcaster attempted to outdo the others by making the lies more outrageous, spreading them further, and endorsing them as strongly as possible,” the suit alleged.

It also named OAN hosts Chanel Rion and Christina Bobb in the lawsuit, accusing them of fuelling election conspiracies.

In February, OAN filed a countersuit alleging “tortious interference” with its business.

Patrick Byrne

Patrick Byrne speaks during a panel discussion at the Nebraska Election Integrity Forum on 27 August, 2022

In August 2021, Dominion filed a defamation lawsuit against former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne for spreading election conspiracies, alongside suits against OAN and Newsmax.

It alleged that Mr Byrne had “manufactured and promoted fake evidence to convince the world that the 2020 election had been stolen as part of a massive international conspiracy among China, Venezuelan and Spanish companies”, along with the Justice Department and Chief Justice John Roberts.

“We are filing these three cases today because the defendants named show no remorse, nor any sign they intend to stop spreading disinformation,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement at the time.

Mr Byrne lost a bid to have the case dismissed in April 2022.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in