Federal Judge Sanctions Mike Lindell Over 2020 Election Lies

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Is Trump backer Mike Lindell ever going to give it up? Alongside former lawyers of his, the founder and CEO of MyPillow has been sanctioned by federal Judge Carl Nichols in connection to court claims he made against Smartmatic, an elections technology company that’s been the subject of numerous pro-Trump conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. The sanctions mean Lindell’s side will have to pay a yet to be determined amount covering Smartmatic’s associated legal fees.

“The Court agrees with Smartmatic that Lindell has asserted at least some groundless claims… In particular, the Court concludes that at the very least Lindell’s claim against Smartmatic under the Support or Advocacy Clause falls on the frivolous side of the line (other claims do too),” as the judge explained. Lindell brought court claims against Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems, another elections technology company that’s been the subject of election-related conspiracy theories, after the companies sued him for defamation in relation to his promotion of 2020 election-related falsehoods. Nichols flatly rejected wide-ranging claims that Lindell lodged against the companies in response to their defamation litigation.

In his personal capacity, Lindell alleged Dominion to be guilty of abuse of process, defamation, civil conspiracy, and more. The claim made against Smartmatic that Nichols referenced in his finding that Lindell’s side is liable for costs incurred by the company apparently hinges on federal law forbidding situations where “two or more persons conspire to prevent by force, intimidation, or threat, any citizen who is lawfully entitled to vote, from giving his support or advocacy in a legal manner, toward or in favor of the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector for President or Vice President.”

That’s not an accurate assessment of legal claims from Smartmatic or Dominion. (Lindell raised the same allegation against Dominion of a violation of the so-called Support or Advocacy Clause.) Getting sued doesn’t mean Lindell is somehow “prevented” from engaging with the legal process surrounding presidential elections — and although this is just an observation rather than a legally backed up argument, good-faith engagement with the legal process isn’t what Lindell is even doing.

Per Nichols, who appears to have dismissed the entirety of Lindell’s claims against Dominion and Smartmatic in this context, the Support or Advocacy Clause-based argument doesn’t work because of the lack of a conspiracy. “Lindell fails to adequately allege an agreement… Lindell’s Complaint points to no event, no conversation, no document—really, nothing at all—to suggest that Dominion, Smartmatic, or Hamilton Place reached any sort of ‘agreement.’ (Citations omitted.) Nor does Lindell offer allegations from which an agreement could be inferred,” according to Nichols. In a later portion of his findings similarly relating to the lack of a conspiracy between Dominion and Smartmatic, Nichols said: “At best, Lindell claims that Dominion and Smartmatic shared the ‘common goal’ of holding actors like Lindell accountable for allegedly defamatory statements… That is not enough.” Lindell is currently backing litigation in Arizona filed in hopes of stopping machine tabulation of votes in the state — a ridiculous prospect that’s not based in real-world evidence of problems with the machines.