It Turns Out Lying About Election Fraud Can Get Really Expensive

Illustration for article titled It Turns Out Lying About Election Fraud Can Get Really Expensive
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP (Getty Images)

Dominion Voting Systems is suing Rudy Giuliani for more than $1.3 billion, accusing him of defamation for implicating the company in his vast election fraud conspiracy theory.

Advertisement

Dominion leveled these allegations in a 107-page complaint, which referred to Giuliani’s false claims as the “Big Lie” that “deceived millions of people into believing that Dominion had stolen their votes and fixed the election.” The document, filed in federal court on Sunday, also stated that Giuliani’s lies resulted in the company’s founder and employees receiving death threats. What follows is a detailed chronology of every time Giuliani peddled these lies in public, in press conferences, television interviews and on podcasts.

The (completely unfounded) basis of Giuliani’s elaborate conspiracy about Dominion—the company that supplies much of the country’s voting technology—is that the development of Dominion’s software was led by former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. This was one of several election-related conspiracy theories stoked by QAnon: In the days immediately following the election, the nonpartisan research group Advance Democracy found that 1 in 7 tweets that used the hashtag “#Dominion” were posted by accounts that aligned themselves with the group.

Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, enthusiastically deployed this false claim as part of his PR strategy, as did other members of the legal team contesting the 2020 election results. “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 in the interference with our elections here in the United States,” Sidney Powell, a former member of Trump’s counsel, said at a November press event.

Dominion has filed a separate lawsuit against Powell, seeking roughly the same amount of money in compensation.

It turns out that lying about something as consequential as the integrity of the country’s presidential election can pay well—about $20,000 a day, apparently!—but it can also cost you far more. In a text to the Washington Post, Giuliani wrote that Dominion’s billion-dollar suit is “quite obviously, intended to frighten people of faint heart.” Perhaps the sort of thing you say when you’re the one who is secretly faint of heart, and very frightened by the possibility of a 10-figure lawsuit. (Especially if your boss decided to stop paying you a couple of weeks ago.) But what do I know.

Naturally, Giuliani is defending his damaging lies on the ground of “free speech” and threatening to countersue Dominion for violating his supposed constitutional rights. It seems to me that Giuliani can say whatever he wants—it just might cost him $1 billion.

Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at The Baffler, The Nation, The New Republic, Vice, and more.

DISCUSSION

buriedaliveopener
BuriedAliveOpener

Giuliani is defending his damaging lies on the ground of “free speech” and threatening to countersue Dominion for violating his supposed constitutional rights.

Ahhh yes. Counter a slam dunk defamation suit with a completely meritless, obviously frivolous claim that will subject you to sanctions. Good for Rudy...he doesn’t just want to be liable for a billion dollars in damages, he also wants to be on the hook for millions of dollars in Dominion’s attorneys’ fees.