Mike Lindell, the outspoken Donald Trump supporter who has repeatedly insisted that widespread voter fraud and foreign interference caused Joe Biden to win the 2020 presidential election, has been ordered to pay $5 million to an electrical engineer and software developer who accepted his challenge to disprove the validity of his evidence supporting those claims.
A three-arbitrator panel ruled Wednesday that Lindell, the MyPillow founder and stalwart Trump acolyte, must pay engineer Robert Zeidman — a Trump supporter himself — $5 million for proving that the evidence Lindell claimed to have was not actually related to the 2020 election.
Lindell issued his “Prove Mike Wrong” challenge at a 2021 “Cyber Symposium” he hosted in South Dakota with the purpose of showing data that he said proved that China had interfered with the election. According to the arbitrators’ ruling, Lindell promised that at the symposium, he would reveal “cyber data and packet captures from the 2020 November election.” The purpose of the challenge, Lindell said at the time, was to “find proof that this cyber data is not valid data from the November Election.”
In other words, contestants were asked to prove that the data Lindell presented was not “from the 2020 presidential election.” The prize: a not-inconsiderable sum of money.
“For the people who find the evidence, 5 million is their reward,” the challenge announcement said.
Zeidman entered the contest, the ruling says, because “he was interested in the claims that there had been interference in the 2020 election and wanted access to the data as promised to see ‘history in the making, perhaps to see an election overturned.'”
“Mr. Zeidman told his friends that he was unlikely to win because Mr. Lindell would not offer a $5 million prize if Mr. Lindell had not had his own experts vet all the data to be presented,” the ruling notes.
Zeidman was wrong. He did prove Lindell wrong, and he did so by reaching the conclusion that “the data Lindell provides, and represents reflects information from the November 2020 election, unequivocally does not contain packet data of any kind and do not contain any information related to the November 2020 election.” His report also included printouts from the data in support of his conclusions, the ruling notes.
Lindell’s team of evaluators, however, concluded that Zeidman did not win the contest. Zeidman brought the arbitration action in response.
The panel’s ruling involved a painstaking analysis of each file provided to Zeidman by Lindell and the contest organizers — none of which, the arbitrators concluded, related to the November 2020 election.
What the arbitrators were not asked to do, the ruling specifically notes, is “decide whether China interfered in the 2020 election” and whether Lindell actually had data proving as much.
The ruling also noted that even members of Lindell’s own team of software experts had complained that they hadn’t received the data Lindell had promised.
The panel ordered Lindell to pay Zeidman the $5 million within 30 days.
In a text to the Washington Post in his typically exuberant style, Lindell said he disagreed with the panel’s ruling and indicated that he intends to escalate the matter.
“They made a terribly wrong decision!” Lindell reportedly texted the newspaper. “This will be going to court!”
A somewhat more subdued Zeidman said in a statement that he was “really happy” with the decision and that the “truth is finally out there,” the Washington Post reported.
Read the arbitrators’ decision, via the Washington Post, here.
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