Experts say Dominion and Smartmatic could win their defamation lawsuits, but MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says they have 'zero' shot

  • Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell, and Fox News face lawsuits over election fraud claims.
  • Dominion and Smartmatic may win their defamation lawsuits, experts have told Insider and CNBC.
  • MyPillow CEO Lindell told Insider Dominion has “zero, zero, zero” chance of winning.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic have sued several Trump-backers for billions of dollars, and experts say they may succeed if they can pass the high bar required in proving defamation.

The companies said the defendants, which in various lawsuits have included Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, and Fox News, spread conspiracy theories about their voting machines following the 2020 election. In order to win the cases, Dominion and Smartmatic would need to prove the defendants made false and harmful statements of fact. Plus, the companies could be considered public figures, meaning they’d have to prove the defendants knew their statements were false or reckless, meeting a standard of “actual malice.” 

“In the interest of promoting the falsehood that Trump won the election, these folks have all done pretty severe harm to an entirely innocent company,” Andrew Koppelman, a political science professor at Northwestern, told Insider in a January interview. “I could easily see how a jury would find that reprehensible enough for more damages.” 

David Schulz, a defamation scholar at Yale Law School, told CNBC that the cases are “applying pretty settled law in this country.” An expert from Harvard law told the news outlet that there is “pretty good evidence” against Giuliani and Powell that would prove actual malice. 

Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Trump lawyer Giuliani, former Trump campaign lawyer Powell, Fox News, and several on-air personalities on February 4. The company said Fox News gave Giuliani and Powell a platform to spread falsehoods about its election technology. Proving Fox News defamed Smartmatic would be more difficult, though, as the defendant claims it was just covering the news, CNBC said, citing legal experts.

Smartmatic and Fox News didn’t answer Insider’s request for comment. Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Dominion filed separate lawsuits against Powell, Giuliani, and most recently Lindell and his company, MyPillow, for at least $1.3 billion in each case. The company said it would continue to take legal action against people who spread baseless claims its voting machines were used to steal the 2020 election. Dominion did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the matter. 

In an interview with Insider Thursday, Lindell said Dominion’s prospect of winning is “zero, zero, and zero. They don’t have one single chance of winning.” He said the lawsuits were part of cancel culture’s attempts at silencing voices.

“I looked at it as a great day for America when they sued me. I can put the evidence for the whole world to see, and it’ll be public record, and the media will quit trying to suppress it,” said Lindell, who built the multimillion-dollar MyPillow company. 

In the lawsuit, Dominion said MyPillow’s use of online promotional codes like “QAnon” and “FightforTrump,” and Lindell’s election fraud claims caused sales to jump 40%. But Lindell noted he’s lost multiple vendors, including Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond, over the claims. 

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