Dominion Voting Systems has filed a defamation lawsuit against rightwing lawyer Sidney Powell, alleging she made “demonstrably false” claims that the voting-machine maker was involved in a scheme to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump.
Dominion said it “has suffered enormous reputational and financial harm” due to “false accusations disseminated to a global audience by Powell”, according to a complaint filed on Friday in US federal court in Washington.
The lawsuit, which seeks more than $1.3bn in damages, names Ms Powell, her law firm and Defending the Republic — an organisation she formed to raise money for election-related legal challenges — as defendants.
Ms Powell tweeted that the lawsuit “is baseless & filed to harass, intimidate, & to drain our resources as we seek the truth of [Dominion’s] role in this fraudulent election. We will not be cowed in exercising our 1st Amendment rights or seeking truth”.
Following the November election, Ms Powell has been one of the most prominent lawyers involved in a flurry of litigation attempting to overturn election results in multiple swing states where Mr Trump lost.
She has alleged — including at a press conference convened by Mr Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to discuss election challenges — that voting systems used in some US states had originally been created “at the direction” of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez and switched votes in favour of Joe Biden. Dominion has rejected claims of vote switching.
Lawyers for Mr Trump’s campaign later distanced themselves from those claims, saying that Ms Powell was “practising law on her own” and was not part of the Trump legal team or representing the president in his personal capacity. However, Ms Powell was subsequently seen entering the White House as the president pressed his long-shot bid to overturn the election results.
Last month William Barr, then the US attorney-general, said there was “no basis” for seizing voting machines.
Dominion sent Ms Powell a letter in December demanding a retraction over “wild, knowingly baseless, and false accusations” and warning that employees had been the target of death threats. “Haven’t seen it but retracting nothing,” Ms Powell wrote on Twitter in response, adding: “We have evidence.”
The company said in its lawsuit that “Powell falsely claimed that Dominion had rigged the election, that Dominion was created in Venezuela to rig elections for Hugo Chávez, and that Dominion bribed Georgia officials for a no-bid contract”.
It added that there were “mountains of direct evidence that conclusively disprove Powell’s vote manipulation claims against Dominion”, including that audits and recounts in Georgia and other swing states “confirmed that Dominion accurately counted votes on paper ballots”.
Dominion was founded in Toronto and subsequently incorporated in Delaware, with offices in Canada and the US. It had contracts with 28 US states and Puerto Rico in 2020, according to the lawsuit.