The voting machine company Dominion on Monday sued former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani for defamation, seeking $1.3 billion for what it described as a months-long “Big Lie” about the company.
Again and again in the suit, Dominion noted that Giuliani was willing to go much further with his fraud claims in the public sphere than he went in court — where lying could result in serious penalties.
“Although he was unwilling to make false election fraud claims about Dominion and its voting machines in a court of law because he knew those allegations are false, he and his allies manufactured and disseminated the ‘Big Lie,’ which foreseeably went viral and deceived millions of people into believing that Dominion had stolen their votes and fixed the election,” Dominion alleged of Giuliani.
The 100-page filing on Monday alleged that Giuliani knowingly and maliciously spread false information about Dominion for months for his own political and financial ends. The strategy began, in the suit’s telling, as election results were still rolling in.
According to an Axios report quoted by the complaint, Giuliani laid out his plan in the early hours of Nov. 4. “There’s no way [Trump] lost; this thing must have been stolen,” he reportedly said. “Just say we won Michigan! Just say we won Georgia! Just say we won the election!”
Dominion later cited several instances of Giuliani using his YouTube show “Common Sense” to talk about Dominion and election integrity, then hawking everything from cybertheft protection to joint pain supplements, cigars, precious metals and “a “conservative alternative to the AARP.” It also mentioned reports that he demanded $20,000 daily from Trump for his work.
The suit at times took detours to discredit the witnesses Giuliani cited in his public crusade against Dominion, including an anonymous purported Venezuelan military officer who asserted that evil communist voting software was “in the DNA” of American voting machine companies. The complaint also singled out the “forensic expert” Russ Ramsland, who in various filings mixed up Minnesota and Michigan and the Federal Election Commission and the Election Assistance Commission.
Dominion weighed Giuliani’s claims about election integrity against public records and those who came out vocally against the “stolen” election narrative, including “reliable sources like Trump appointee Bill Barr, Trump appointee Chris Krebs, Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, federal judges, and 59 election security experts.”
Using third-party Twitter analytics data, Dominion showed that Giuliani’s assertions about the company reached potentially hundreds of millions of Americans. The company reprinted pages of tweets and other comments from web users enraged about Dominion’s role in stealing Trump’s rightful second term — allegedly leading some to levy threats against Dominion and its employees, and leading legislators in multiple states to declare their intent to review existing Dominion contracts.
“[A]s a result of the viral disinformation campaign, Dominion has been unfairly subjected to the hatred, contempt, and distrust of tens of millions of American voters, and the elected officials who are Dominion’s actual and potential customers have received emails, letters, and calls from their constituents demanding that they avoid contracting with Dominion or using Dominion machines,” Dominion alleged.
Despite a retraction demand letter in December — and even after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — Giuliani kept up with his Dominion attacks.
“Indeed, to this day, he continues to double down on the Big Lie,” Dominion concluded.
Read the Dominion complaint below: