A key member of the legal team who tried to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump is defending himself against a $ 1 billion defamation lawsuit by arguing that “no reasonable person” could have mistaken his outlandish claims about voter fraud last November. with statements of fact. .
in a motion to dismiss A complaint filed by the large American voting machine company Dominion, Sidney Powell’s attorneys argued that the elaborate conspiracies she featured on television and radio last November while simultaneously suing to overturn election results in four states constituted a legally protected first amendment speech.
“No reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact,” argued attorneys for Powell, a former Texas federal prosecutor who came to Trump’s attention for her involvement in defending former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Powell falsely stated on television and in legal reports that the Dominion machines were powered by technology that could deflect Trump’s votes, technology that she claimed had been invented in Venezuela to help steal the elections from the late Hugo Chávez.
Those lies were based on empty claims that apparently originated in anonymous comments on a pro-Trump blog, only to be amplified on a global scale by Trump himself in a November 12 tweet in which he wrote in part “REPORT: DOMINION DELETED 2.7 MILLION VOTES FROM TRUMP NATIONAL LEVEL.”
Citing the loss of business and damage to reputation, Dominion filed a $ 1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Powell and his colleague on Trump’s legal team, Rudy Giuliani. A Dominion employee separately sued the Trump campaign after receiving death threats.
Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 in an effort to stop the certification of an election they deemed invalid, killing one police officer in violent clashes in which four others were killed.
But Powell’s attorneys argued that his false statements about voter fraud in the months leading up to the Capitol uprising were not presented as true facts.
“It was clear to reasonable people that Powell’s assertions were his legal opinions and theories on a matter of utmost public concern,” his legal motion reads. “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 waited for the court to resolve the matter before making a decision.”
The presentation drew expressions of disbelief from Trump’s critics.
“This is your defense. Woof,” tweeted Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
“Bad argument!” tweeted Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. “[Powell] I should have gone with a defense of insanity due to the #TrumpDerangementSyndrome. “
“Sidney Powell shorter: fools!” tweeted Charlie Sykes, editor of the conservative anti-Trump journal Bulwark.
As Trump struggled to reverse his electoral defeat in November, the former president himself reportedly he supported Powell’s claims privately, and he proclaimed them publicly, promoting Powell two weeks after the election as a key part of the “legal effort to defend OUR RIGHT to FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS.”
Powell was publicly exiled from Trump’s camp a week after that tweet, after she appeared at a press conference hosted by the Republican National Committee alongside Giuliani, whose hair dye memorably swept her face, and Trump’s attorney, Jenna Ellis.
The group was “an elite strike force team working on behalf of the president and the campaign,” Ellis announced.
So Powell confronted the cameras and claimed to have identified “the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba and probably China in interfering with our elections here in the United States.”
Helpers reportedly told Trump that Powell was not helping, and Giuliani and Ellis issued a statement announcing: “Sidney Powell is practicing law on his own. She is not a member of Trump’s legal team. Nor is she the president’s attorney in a personal capacity. “
But that didn’t stop Powell from filing lawsuits next week on Trump’s behalf in Georgia, Michigan, Arizona and Wisconsin.
In her defense against Dominion’s defamation lawsuit, Powell argued that regardless of “reasonable people” who thought of her wild claims, Dominion had not been able to show that she herself believed them to be false while speaking them, a key distinction in the defamation cases.
“In fact,” says Powell’s motion, “she believed the allegations then and she believes them now.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism