Judge Upholds Defamation Lawsuit Against Mike Lindell

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This week, a federal judge upheld a lawsuit against perennial loudmouth Mike Lindell and his company MyPillow from the elections technology firm Smartmatic, which was barely used in the U.S. during the 2020 elections but somehow became a prominent part of baseless conspiracy theories about what transpired.

The lawsuit alleges defamation and, in connection to Lindell pushing MyPillow promo codes while promoting his nonsense about imaginary fraud, a violation of portions of Minnesota state law restricting deceptive trade practices. Both Lindell and MyPillow filed motions in court for the case’s dismissal, but U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright concluded Monday that Smartmatic adequately made its case against both targets and on both issues at this stage of the proceedings. Lindell argued that his statements about the 2020 elections that are relevant to the Smartmatic case were originally made in his personal capacity, without formal connection to his company. MyPillow’s court arguments also sought to distance the company from Lindell’s remarks (which the pillow-slinger himself also defended against the defamation claims).

In her conclusions, Wright upheld claims against MyPillow in light of Lindell’s promotion of the company around critical moments at issue, as he wheeled out false claims about the election. Wright also concluded that Smartmatic sufficiently established its allegations (at this point, at least) under the Minnesota legal standards covering deceptive trade practices, considering the appearance that Lindell’s public statements were partly orchestrated for the promotion of his company.

Promo for MyPillow, from which major retailers distanced themselves amid Lindell’s descent into increasingly delusional conspiracy theories, has often popped up amid pro-Trump pushes following the last election. Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems, the latter of which is another elections technology company, have both filed a raft of litigation over false claims about the companies’ supposed involvement in non-existent election-rigging. Smartmatic is also suing Fox News, which was recently directed by a Manhattan judge to soon start the process of handing over materials the news org also provided in a defamation case from Dominion.

As for the Dominion case, Fox already provided millions of documents, including communications involving company personnel. Dominion is also taking depositions from high-profile Fox figures, including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. The Dominion case against Fox is, at this stage, moving towards a trial slated to take place next spring. Lindell, meanwhile, apparently provided some half a million bucks in support of a recently failed lawsuit in Arizona seeking to force the hand count of this year’s ballots in the state. Although the lawsuit could otherwise fade into the rhetorical ash heap of the other failed litigation from Trump goons challenging the electoral process, there’s something more troubling: plaintiffs pushing this conspiracy theory-driven initiative included the Arizona GOP’s current nominees for governor and Secretary of State, both of whom could wield substantial power over the handling of elections if successful.