U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols rejected requests from three of former President Donald Trump’s supporters to have the suits brought by Dominion Voting Systems against them dismissed, according to The Hill.
Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell all requested that the Washington D.C. federal judge do away with the defamation suits.
The three are all facing lawsuits to the tune of $1.3 billion for what the voting software company alleges is defamation against their company for its part in the confusion of the 2020 presidential election.
The Trump appointee pushed aside the claims that the suits should be tossed because their alleged statements were legally protected opinions and made without melodious intent.
As such, the three defendants claimed that the D.C. court did not have the proper jurisdiction to hear the case, and should therefore dismiss it without opening it up for testimony.
In his opinion Nichols addressed the case against Powell, who Dominion blamed in part for the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6, saying that the demonstrators were fueled by the disinformation campaign launched and sustained by Powell in concert with her allies and like-minded media outlets.”
Dominion alleged that Powell promoted “a false preconceived narrative” about the 2020 vote, including what they called unsubstantiated claims that the company was established in Venezuela as part of a vote-rigging operation in favor of the late socialist leader Hugo Chávez.
Nichols rejected that Powell’s statements were not defamatory because they were not statements of fact or protected by free speech because they took place during the election:
“The question … is whether a reasonable juror could conclude that Powell’s statements expressed or implied a verifiably false fact about Dominion. This is not a close call,” Nichols wrote. He added that “it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.”
Currently, all three are still involved in cases with the voting software company and face massive claims for damages for their statements on what they believed to be the breakdown of free and fair elections.