Judge Rules In Favor Of Dominion Voting Systems In Defamation Case Against Trump Ally

0
629

A defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems against Patrick Byrne, a prominent ally of former President Donald Trump, can proceed according to a new federal court ruling. Dominion, an elections technology company, was the subject of a range of pro-Trump conspiracy theories regarding the last election spread by individuals and groups including Byrne, and accordingly, the company sued Byrne — who previously ran the marketplace Overstock — for around $1.6 billion in damages. As summarized in USA Today, Byrne stood “accused of bankrolling and promoting viral conspiracy theories, including false claims that Dominion was tied to a conspiracy involving a Venezuelan election stealing software and CIA-funded databases in Spain, where votes were sent and changed, according to the complaint filed in Washington, D.C.”

The lawsuit itself stated that through his election lies Byrne “catapulted himself back into the national spotlight, where he promoted himself as an ‘us-against-the-world’ hero, and won access to the highest echelons of political power, including an in-person meeting with Trump at the White House.” Byrne was apparently at the White House for an hours-long meeting in December 2020 in which some of the most reality-disconnected people around the former president desperately pushed for dramatic action to stop Joe Biden from taking his rightfully decided place as president. According to Axios, Byrne remarked to the then-president at one juncture: “Sir, we’re both entrepreneurs, and we both built businesses… We know that there are times you have to be creative and take different steps.” The fact that Byrne cast what was being proposed as simply taking a “different step” is remarkably ignorant. These individuals were pushing for the dismantling of the American democratic process.

That meeting provided the first chance for Byrne to actually meet Trump. Byrne went on to be involved in the financing for a conspiracy-fueled audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County, Arizona. That audit was not conducted by local officials, who stood by the documented integrity of the electoral process — rather, Republicans in the Arizona state Senate ran the audit operation. At no point has any real-world evidence of election fraud emerged.

Meanwhile, the same federal judge — Trump appointee Carl Nichols — who allowed the Dominion lawsuit against Byrne to move forward also ruled last year that Dominion lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Mike Lindell could also proceed. As Nichols summarized his conclusions, it “is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.” In other words, tying false statements to political activity doesn’t somehow eliminate liability for them. Interestingly, Nichols added at the time that there “is no rule that a defendant cannot act in reckless disregard of the truth when relying on sworn affidavits — especially sworn affidavits that the defendant had a role in creating.” Affidavits from those supposedly in-the-know about imaginary election fraud have figured prominently in attempts from those on Trump’s side to convince observers and judges that systematic fraud unfolded. Trump, of course, continues to push his lies about the integrity of the last election. And ridiculously, former Trump attorney John Eastman is still pushing for the de-certification of results from the last presidential race.