Dominion Voting Sues Former Trump Lawyer, Seeking More Than $1.3 Billion In Damages
The elections company Dominion Voting Systems, which has been at the center of many of President Trump's conspiracy narratives about the 2020 election, filed suit Friday against one of the loudest amplifiers of those false stories.
The company sued Sidney Powell, a lawyer who previously worked for the Trump campaign and who has spent much of the past two months claiming Dominion rigged the election and was somehow tied to the Venezuelan regime of the late Hugo Chavez.
None of those claims are true. Dominion was founded in Toronto and is now headquartered in Denver; its machines have been used in American elections for more than a decade. Chavez died in 2013.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and in it Dominion asks for more than $1.3 billion in damages. Powell's "viral disinformation campaign" has destroyed the value of the business, the lawsuit says.
Election experts have wondered whether the company would be able to survive after the onslaught of accusations by the Trump campaign.
To get contracts needed to stay afloat, a voting company needs to be able to convince local governments its systems are trustworthy — but that becomes a herculean task if a large chunk of voters in those communities are consuming misinformation.
Even if the allegations appear ridiculous, the company's fate still is complicated if Republican elected officials become torn about engaging with a vendor that Trump and his supporters have tarred.
Powell has more than 1 million followers on Twitter alone, and the 124-page lawsuit filed by Dominion is almost entirely filled with her various conspiracies about election fraud.
"When you run out of gas in this industry, it's either because you run out of cash or you run out of reputation," Joe Kiniry, who runs the voting technology company Free & Fair, said in an interview last month about Dominion. "And that's when things go bankrupt. ... Or things get acquired."
Dominion says it expects to lose $200 million in profits over the coming five years as a result of Powell's post-election claims.
"We're filing this lawsuit because 300 families have staked their livelihoods on this company," Dominion CEO John Poulos said on Friday. "Words don't describe the effect. Lives have been upended."
The lawsuit also notes that as a result of the claims Powell and others have made, election officials and Dominion employees have been the subject of harassment and death threats.
"We're going to blow your f***ing building up," one person said in a voicemail left on the Dominion main office line, according to the suit.
One employee, Eric Coomer, spoke to Colorado Public Radio from an undisclosed location last month after he was forced to leave his home due to the threats.
"I actually am in fear for my safety," Coomer said. "I'm in fear for my family's safety. These are real, tangible things coming out of these baseless accusations."
Coomer, who is Dominion's head of product strategy and security, also filed suit last month against a number of pro-Trump figures, including Powell.
Dominion said Friday that the company may file future lawsuits as well against conservative media outlets and even potentially Trump himself.
"We have not ruled anyone out," said Tom Clare, an attorney representing Dominion. "We are looking very deliberately at the statements and actions of everyone."
Read Friday's lawsuit below:
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.