The seldom-utilized statute of defamation is a new weapon in the hands of organizations fighting to defend US democracy from a potential subversion danger in the 2020 presidential contest. This weapon is directed against Donald Trump and his allies.
Several high-profile defamation cases attacking those who attempted to rig the 2020 election have implicated prominent figures, including conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, and former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. Well-known right-wing media sites like Gateway Pundit and a famous news channel are also implicated.
The legal anguish is already getting worse. Giuliani was ruled guilty of defaming two Georgia election officials, whom he had falsely accused of illegally altering the vote totals in 2020 to benefit Joe Biden.
Giuliani could potentially be hit with hefty punitive damages when the matter goes to trial in December.
Millions of dollars have been spent on Lindell’s legal defense in the $2 billion (about $6 per person in the US) defamation lawsuits Dominion and Smartmatic, two companies that make voting equipment, filed against him for allegedly manipulating the results. His continued troubles with libel came after a famous news resource settled in April, having to pay Dominion an astounding $788 million for airing identical falsehoods.
In an interview with the news channel, Lindell objected to this kind of law enforcement. Since the late 1700s, warfare has not been employed in our nation, and that is just what they are doing.
The lawsuits are intended to serve as a deterrent, in part. The people pursuing the libel actions are hoping that anyone considering a fresh run at the presidency in 2019, when Trump is most likely to be the Republican nominee, will consider the possibly disastrous consequences and change their mind.
We want to show that spreading deliberate and careless lies is not exempt from consequences, according to Rachel Goodman, a lawyer with the nonpartisan advocacy group Protect Democracy. One of the most important ways to prevent election tampering in 2024 is by making certain those responsible for intentional slander face consequences.
Five Defamation Lawsuits:
There are currently five defamation lawsuits pending against people and organizations that supported election denial on behalf of Protect Democracy. Giuliani, the Gateway Pundit, and Project Veritas, the troubled undercover video organization, are among the defendants.
Due to his much-mocked and disproven film 2000 Mules, D’Souza is being sued. In it, he painted Mark Andrews, a black voter in Georgia, as a “mule” who cast ballots without permission in a drop box when he was merely carrying out the family’s legal vote delivery.
The final example involves Republican Kari Lake of Arizona, who last year did not accept her loss in the state’s governor election. The plaintiff is Stephen Richer, the senior election official in Maricopa County, whom she falsely accused of rigging the count by adding 300,000 phony ballots to tip the election against her.
In the US, defamation law has traditionally been applied only rarely because of the extremely high standard that plaintiffs must meet. To prove “actual malice” on behalf of the charged, they must be able to cite the 1964 Supreme Court decision New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.
The lawsuit against Giuliani will be the first to go to trial under Protect Democracy. On December 11, a jury in a federal court in Washington, DC, will deliberate to determine the number of penalties he must pay.
In the 2020 absentee ballot count, Giuliani allegedly engaged in a “suffered smear campaign” against two poll workers in Georgia, according to Protect Democracy. Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, a mother-and-daughter team, were the subject of a conspiracy theory that claimed they had secretly counted five fake ballots by packing phony ballots into “suitcases” and moving the results to Biden.