The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
This morning, U.S. Dominion, Inc. made good on its threats to sue Rudy Giuliani by filing a $1.3 billion defamation suit against him for propagating and repeating various unfounded conspiracy claims about Dominion Voting Systems and its various election-related products. This suit follows on a similar filing against Sidney Powell, demand letters filed against conservative media outlets, and a threatened suit against My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.
Dominion's complaint is available here. The opening reads:
During a court hearing contesting the results of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania, Rudy Giuliani admitted that the Trump Campaign "doesn't plead fraud" and that "this is not a fraud case." 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. Giuliani reportedly demanded $20,000 per day for that Big Lie. But he also cashed in by hosting a podcast where he exploited election falsehoods to market gold coins, supplements, cigars, and protection from "cyberthieves." Even after the United States Capitol had been stormed by rioters who had been deceived by Giuliani and his allies, Giuliani shirked responsibility for the consequences of his words and repeated the Big Lie again. This defamation action follows.
Among other things, the complaint stresses that while Giuliani often repeated outrageous, unfounded claims against Dominion–and promoted the ravings of Sidney Powell, among others, on television and various public fora–he was careful not to include such allegations in any legal filings in which he participated, likely because he feared court discipline or other adverse consequences from such filings.
According to Axios, additional suits are possible, including perhaps a suit against Trump himself. And, of course, a suit against Lindell is still possible.