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Dominion files defamation lawsuit against MyPillow CEO over false claims voting machines were rigged against Trump

MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell speaks during a coronavirus briefing at the White House last March as President Donald Trump listens.
MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell speaks during a coronavirus briefing at the White House last March as President Donald Trump listens. (Alex Brandon/AP)
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Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell, accusing him of seeking to boost pillow sales by promoting false claims that Dominion’s voting machines were manipulated to rig the 2020 election against President Donald Trump.

In interviews and other public appearances, the lawsuit says, Lindell repeatedly spread those claims while viewers were urged to buy his products. His company has offered discounts to customers who use the promo codes “QAnon” and “FightforTrump,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Lindell contributed to a “viral disinformation campaign” about Dominion on social media, in broadcast interviews, at pro-Trump rallies and in a two-hour documentary about supposed election fraud — titled “Absolute Proof” — that he created and paid to have aired 13 times this month on One America News.

The lawsuit against Lindell and his company, one of several that Dominion has filed in recent weeks, seeks more than $1.3 billion.

At a virtual news conference with reporters Monday, Megan Meier, an attorney representing Dominion, described Lindell as a canny business executive with an interest in algorithms and game theory. “We don’t think he really believes it,” she said of the election fraud misinformation he has spread. “We think he’s making money off of it.”

Reached by phone Monday, Lindell said he was “very happy to hear” that Dominion had sued him.

“Now I can get to the evidence faster. It’s going to be amazing,” he said. He added that he plans to continue releasing “more movies, more documentaries” about alleged election fraud.

He scoffed at the notion that he has tried to use his election fraud claims to market pillows, saying his efforts have in fact harmed his business. “I’ve lost 22 retailers. It has hit me financially like crazy,” he said.

Multiple courts have dismissed cases alleging that the election was marred by widespread fraud, and a statement distributed by the Department of Homeland Security in the days after the election said there was no evidence that voting systems had been manipulated. The statement called the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”

The 115-page complaint, filed in federal court in the District, outlines several instances in which Lindell used appearances on conservative media to hawk his products.

Read Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

On Jan. 16, for example, Lindell claimed without evidence that Dominion machines were “built . . . to cheat” in an interview on Right Side Broadcasting Network. According to the complaint, the host then urged “everyone watching right now to go to” and offered a code for 66 percent off. “We have 110 products now,” Lindell said, repeating the promotional code. (Also on that day, the complaint says, MyPillow offered a $45 discount — “a not-so-subtle nod to the 45th President of the United States” — for anyone using the promo code “QAnon.”)

During another Lindell media appearance, on Feb. 4, the host of the Victory Channel show “FlashPoint” urged viewers to buy from MyPillow. “We’ve got to support patriots, folks,” said the host, Gene Bailey. “I don’t care if you don’t need a pillow. Go order one and give it to somebody else. But we’ve got to support each other because this is the life and death of America.”

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The complaint says Lindell persisted in making false claims about Dominion even after the company sent him multiple letters warning that he was putting himself in legal jeopardy by spreading misinformation.

“Despite having been specifically directed to the evidence and sources disproving the Big Lie, Lindell knowingly lied about Dominion to sell more pillows to people who continued tuning in to hear what they wanted to hear about the election,” the complaint says.

The complaint alleges that election fraud falsehoods have helped MyPillow’s bottom line, citing tweets from Trump supporters who said they were buying MyPillow products to support Lindell’s campaign against the alleged fraud.

“Mike Lindell is defeating Satan with a pillow fight. He’s spending millions collecting evidence of dominion voting systems election fraud,” one Twitter user wrote.

The complaint also refers to Lindell’s own statements in recent weeks. On Jan. 18, Lindell told Right Side Broadcasting that his business had gone up 30 to 40 percent in recent days, the complaint says. And on Feb. 19, he said on Rudolph W. Giuliani’s podcast that in the previous three to four weeks, he had sold 300,000 copies of his autobiography, “What Are the Odds? From Crack Addict to CEO.”

The lawsuit against Lindell is the latest salvo in Dominion’s legal battle to recover its reputation, which it says has been badly damaged by election fraud falsehoods that were endorsed by Trump and amplified in conservative media.

The company has already sued Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, and pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, and has sent retraction demands or preservation notices — often precursors to litigation — to dozens of individuals and businesses. As in its complaint against Lindell, Dominion alleges that both Giuliani and Powell capitalized on their false election fraud claims.