Facing more than $1.3 billion in liabilities over her post-election conspiracy theories, lawyer Sidney Powell told a judge that the defamation lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems filed against her earlier this year should be dismissed because “no reasonable person” would believe that her well-publicized comments about an international plot against former President Donald Trump were “statements of fact.”
“Given the highly charged and political context of the statements, it is clear that Powell was describing the facts on which she based the lawsuits she filed in support of President Trump,” her attorneys wrote in a 54-page motion to dismiss on Monday, noting that Dominion characterized her theories as “wild accusations” and “outlandish claims.”
“They are repeatedly labelled ‘inherently improbable’ and even ‘impossible,'” the motion to dismiss continues, referring to the conspiracy theories peddled by Powell, her law firm and her non-profit group Defending the Republic. “Such characterizations of the allegedly defamatory statements further support defendants’ position that reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts through the adversary process.”
Signed by Powell’s lawyer Lawrence J. Joseph, the memo shows Powell’s legal strategy for attempting to jettison a potentially billion-dollar price tag over what came to be known as the “Kraken” lawsuits, named after the mythical, octopus-like creature depicted in the Hollywood blockbuster Clash of the Titans. In the movie, the monster was easily slain, and the four lawsuits filed by Powell and her co-counsel Lin Wood alleging a giant plot between voting companies and foreign powers to interfere with the election met with the same fate.
In her motion to dismiss, Powell does not argue that the statements were true. She claims they are not actionable because they are protected statements of political opinion.
“Reasonable people understand that the ‘language of the political arena, like the language used in labor disputes … is often vituperative, abusive and inexact,'” her motion to dismiss argues. “It is likewise a ‘well recognized principle that political statements are inherently prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.'”
When Powell repeated her conspiracy theories on Fox News, Fox Business Network and The Epoch Times, her lawyers claim, she was just informing the public about the ideas that she was advancing in her lawsuits.
“It would make no sense, and serve no public purpose, to give immunity for statements made during the course of litigation – which are themselves public – but burden lawyers with the threat of billion-dollar defamation verdicts when the same allegations are made at press conferences and news releases announcing and discussing the case,” her memo states.
Powell, whose law firm and non-profit are also named as defendant, also challenge the lawsuit on the basis of jurisdiction and venue.
In a statement, Dominion’s attorney Tom Clare said: “Powell’s attempt to dismiss the case contradicts her claim that she wants to present her evidence in court.”
“Dominion Voting Systems is eager for the case to move forward and intends to hold Powell accountable,” Clare added.
In addition to potentially staggering liabilities, Powell may be fighting for her law license. The state of Michigan and the city of Detroit have both asked a federal judge to refer Powell for disbarment proceedings, arguing that she defrauded the court by lying about witnesses and violated rules of professional ethics in an attack on U.S. democracy. Cataloguing Powell and Wood’s “lies,” “unhinged conspiracy theories,” and “fraud on the court,” Detroit created a detailed list of Powell and Wood’s courtroom and extrajudicial antics—such as pining for martial law, fundraising through shadowy dark-money entities, and marshaling a secret witness code-named “Spyder” who later told a reporter that the legal team made him submit a false declaration.
Read the motion to dismiss below:
[Image via YouTube screengrab]
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