Sidney Powell Says Her Dominion Claims Were Opinion Not Fact
(Bloomberg) -- Former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell said the defamation suit filed against her by Dominion Voting Systems Inc. should be tossed out because “no reasonable person” would believe her claims about the election software company were “truly statements of fact.”
In a motion to dismiss filed Monday in Washington, Powell argued her claims about Dominion were “political speech” that’s protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Her claims were clearly understood to be nothing more than “opinions and legal theories,” she argued, and criticism of her comments at time as “inherently improbable” illustrate her point.
“Such characterizations 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,” her lawyer argued.
Powell said she stands by her claims even though they were repeatedly rejected by judges who threw out her lawsuits seeking to reverse the election.
Dominion’s $1.3 billion lawsuit accuses Powell of eviscerating the company’s reputation by falsely claiming it conspired with Democrats and shadowy foreign agents to steal the election. They did so, she claimed, by using corrupt computer code originally created for the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to flip millions of votes away from Donald Trump.
Powell, who spread the conspiracy theory at a press conference and on numerous appearances on conservative media, didn’t provide hard evidence.
If the case is thrown out, Dominion will be deprived of its stated goal of eventually taking the case to trial, which would force Powell to present evidence proving her claims about the company were true or that she at least had a reason to believe them.
“Powell’s attempt to dismiss the case contradicts her claim that she wants to present her evidence in court,” Dominion attorney Tom Clare said in an emailed statement. “Dominion Voting Systems is eager for the case to move forward and intends to hold Powell accountable.”
Powell also argued the Washington court doesn’t have jurisdiction over her because Dominion failed to properly tie her allegedly defamatory statements to the city. She asked the judge to consider transferring the case to Texas, where she lives, if her motion to dismiss the case is denied.
Powell, whose claims about Dominion allegedly led to numerous death threats against its employees, was dumped by the Trump campaign not long after a Nov. 19 press conference in Washington in which she claimed that agents from Iran and China infiltrated Dominion’s voting machines to help President Joe Biden
Powell said her comments likely can’t be proved true or false, making it impossible for Dominion’s case to proceed. Even if they could be, “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact,” her filing said.
Powell cited the riot by Trump supporters as further evidence for moving the case to Texas if it isn’t dismissed, arguing that federal court in Washington is busy with litigation after the attack.
“It is public knowledge that this docket is backlogged, congested, and overwhelmed,” she said.
Clare and his partner Libby Locke represent Dominion in lawsuits against Powell, Rudy Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell seeking a total of $3.9 billion for falsely claiming its voting machines were used to cheat in the 2020 election. The married couple, who run their own boutique firm, are waging a battle at the heart of an effort to stop a continuing stream of disinformation from Donald Trump’s supporters -- and haven’t ruled out suing Trump himself.
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