The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Dominion’s lawsuits against Trump allies can move forward after judge rejects arguments

Sidney Powell, left, an attorney later disavowed by the Trump campaign, at a news conference with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani on Nov. 19. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

A federal judge on Wednesday denied requests by former president Donald Trump’s former lawyers and allies to throw out more than $3 billion in defamation lawsuits over false claims that a voting machine company’s technology was used to rig the 2020 presidential election.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols in Washington allows lawsuits by Dominion Voting Systems against former Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani, as well as MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell, to move forward.

In a written opinion, Nichols said Dominion has “adequately alleged” that Powell and Lindell made their claims “knowing that they were false or with reckless disregard for the truth.”

“A reasonable juror” could conclude that Powell did not have a video of Dominion’s founder saying that “he can change a million votes, no problem at all,” as she had claimed, the judge wrote. Nichols also wrote that a sensible juror could conclude that Lindell’s insistence on “the existence of a vast international conspiracy that is ignored by the government but proven by a spreadsheet on an internet blog is so inherently improbable that only a reckless man would believe it,” referencing Lindell’s assertion that a spreadsheet he shared on Twitter as proof of Trump’s victory was evidence.

Giuliani requested that the complaint against him be dismissed for three reasons: Dominion is a corporation, it may only recover lost profits and that the company must plead damages for its defamation claim.

Nichols said Dominion’s complaint does allege lost profit with specificity.

Attorneys for Dominion said in an email statement that “we are pleased to see this process moving forward to hold Mike Lindell, MyPillow, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Defending The Republic accountable.”

Defending the Republic is a group founded by Powell, which has raised money to support the legal challenges she filed against the election results.

Howard Kleinhendler, one of the lawyers representing Powell, told The Washington Post in a statement that he and his team are “disappointed” in the court’s decision.

“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 malice,” he said. “We also anticipate taking full discovery of Dominion including a thorough review of its election software and machines used in the 2020 election.”

Lawyers for Lindell and Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lindell has alleged that Dominion had the “biggest crime ever committed in election history against our country and the world” and that the company had created an algorithm to flip and weigh votes in its machines, according to court documents. He also asserted that the volume of votes Trump received on election night broke that algorithm.

Even after public statements by election security officials and other government agencies, as well as independent audits and paper ballot recounts disproving his claims, he doubled down on the allegations, according to the complaint filed against him.

On Tuesday, Dominion filed separate defamation lawsuits against Newsmax, One America News, their executives and Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of

Dominion alleges that the networks boosted false allegations about the company in an attempt to help their own bottom lines. Newsmax spokesman Brian Peterson told The Post that the reporting was simply based on allegations made by Trump and his allies.

“Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press,” Peterson told The Post.

Dominion sues Newsmax and One America News over election fraud claims

Dominion has also filed another defamation suit against Fox News, alleging that the network intensified false claims about the company for ratings purposes. Fox has asked for the case to be dismissed.

Dominion’s series of lawsuits stem from the misinformation and “conspiracy theories” purveyed by Trump’s allies — some of which even led the former president’s administration and campaign to distance themselves from their most convoluted claims.

Such is the case of Powell, the Texas-based attorney who joined Trump’s legal team in its attempts to contest the election results. After a string of presentations in early November, Giuliani released a statement saying she was “not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.”

Among Powell’s accusations was the encroachment of an international cabal of communists and Democratic officials working alongside the CIA, the Clinton Foundation and billionaire investor George Soros.

“What we are really dealing with here and uncovering more by the day is the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba and likely China and the interference with our elections here in the United States,” Powell said in a November presentation.

These statements — which were initially supported by Giuliani, a former mayor of New York City — cite an expert as their basis, whose veracity was not only disputed by Dominion but also questioned by Nichols.

“That expert has also publicly claimed that George Soros, President George H.W. Bush’s father, the Muslim Brotherhood, and ‘leftists’ helped form the ‘Deep State’ in Nazi Germany in the 1930s — which would have been a remarkable feat for Soros, who was born in 1930,” the judge noted in his ruling.