Sidney Powell: Pro-Trump lawyer tells court no ‘reasonable person’ would listen to her in bid to get Dominion suit thrown out

Powell seeks dismissal of the defamation suit on grounds that her rights were protected under First Amendment

Namita Singh
Tuesday 23 March 2021 14:05
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Sidney Powell and Lin Wood attend ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Georgia

Donald Trump’s former lawyer Sidney Powell has submitted in court that her assertion about voter fraud after the 2020 US presidential election was opinion, and not a statement of fact.

Ms Powell is seeking dismissal of the $1.3 billion lawsuit against her by Dominion Voting Systems, which has alleged that the conservative legal firebrand defamed the election voting technology company with conspiracy theories in the weeks following the polls.

Ms Powell, who is notable for saying her lawsuits challenging the election were akin to “releasing the Kraken,” made Dominion Voting Systems the centre of her legal challenges to the 2020 election results.  

The lawyer claimed that agents from Iran and China had compromised Dominion’s voting machines so that they would change the votes for Trump to those for Joe Biden.

Ms Powell, who was later disavowed by the Trump campaign, submitted before the federal court in Washington that “it was clear to reasonable persons” that she was sharing her “opinions and legal theories on a matter of utmost public concern.”

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“Those members of the public who were interested in the controversy were free to, and did, review that evidence and reached their own conclusions, or awaited resolution of the matter by the courts before making up their minds,” Ms Powell submitted in court on Monday through her lawyers.

“Given the highly charged and political context of the statements, it is clear that Powell was describing the facts on which she based the lawsuits she filed in support of President Trump,” she further told the court.

“Indeed, Plaintiffs themselves characterise the statements at issue as ‘wild accusations’ and ‘outlandish claims.’ They are repeatedly labelled ‘inherently improbable’ and even ‘impossible.’ Such characterisations of the allegedly defamatory statements further support Defendants’ position that reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts through the adversary process,” she said.

She also sought the dismissal of the lawsuit on the ground that the litigation was filed in the wrong jurisdiction and argued that her claims were protected under the First Amendment. The First Amendment rights protect freedom of speech, the press, assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Ms Powell consistently appeared with Mr Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani in their attempts to challenge the election’s results across different states.

The Trump campaign’s legal team later distanced itself from Ms Powell after she floated multiple incorrect statements about the election voting process. Earlier in November, she had baselessly suggested that a server hosting evidence of voting irregularities was located in Germany and that voting software used by Georgia and other states were made on the direction of deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

Dominion had filed the lawsuit seeking $650m in reputational damages and an equal amount for punitive damages.  

Dominion’s CEO John Poulos had told VICE News at the time that the lawsuit was the first step to restoring the company’s image in light of the defamatory remarks.

“Today is the first step to restore our good name and faith in elections by holding those responsible to account,” he said. “We intend to pursue justice vigorously to its rightful end.”

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