British tabloid the Daily Mail filed a memorandum in support of a motion to dismiss MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s defamation lawsuit on Monday, arguing that his federal case is “baseless.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, arose from a Jan. 2021 article that claimed the “Trump-loving MyPillow CEO” had a “secret romance” with 30 Rock actress Jane Krakowski and “wooed her with flowers and champagne in [a] relationship that BAFFLED her friends.”
Lindell, represented by attorney Charles Harder, fired back with a federal lawsuit claiming that the Daily Mail story was “bogus.” The lawsuit said that Lindell is “a reverent family man prominent in his church community” and an “alcoholic who frequently writes and speaks publicly about his spiritual triumphs over substance abuse.” Yet the Daily Mail accused Lindell of “plying Ms. Krakowski with liquor, wine and other such gifts.”
That, the plaintiff argued, “severely undermines Mr. Lindell’s hard-earned credibility, integrity and character in the field of addiction recovery as well as in religious communities. Mr. Lindell’s ability to succeed in this important effort have been severely impacted by Defendants’ wrongful actions.”
What’s more, Lindell and Harder claimed that, prior to publication, the Daily Mail was told Lindell and Krakowski had never even met each other — yet the story was published anyway.
The Daily Mail responded on Monday by suggesting that the article about Krakowski was the least of Lindell’s concerns from a reputation standpoint:
Plaintiff Michael Lindell is no stranger to scandal. In the last year alone, the self- described crack-addict-turned-CEO ventured beyond pillow sales to become a peddler of an unproven COVID-19 “cure,” and a leading proponent of baseless election fraud theories; stores dropped his company’s product after Plaintiff was photographed leaving the White House in January 2021 with a notepad referencing “martial law.” He and his company have been mired in litigation – previously, in several suits alleging fraudulent advertisement practices, and more. Yet Plaintiff (literally) has made a federal case out of statements in an article about his rumored consensual romantic relationship with a popular, award-winning actress, claiming that these references irreparably harmed his reputation. His baseless defamation claim should be dismissed.
Law&Crime reached out to Lindell’s lawyer Charles Harder for comment on these opening lines of the filing. Harder said, at length, that the Daily Mail is just trying to change the subject by talking about unrelated and irrelevant things — in order to “further disparage” Lindell and to distract from its “garbage” story:
The lawsuit is about how the Daily Mail wrote a story that Mr. Lindell dated an actress for 9 months and pushed alcohol on her, when in fact he had never even met her! That is not journalism, it’s garbage. Also, before the story was published, both Mr. Lindell and the actress—independently—told the Daily Mail that they’d never met each other. But the Daily Mail ignored the clear truth and published the false story anyway. That is defamation with actual malice. Now the Daily Mail has filed a motion to dismiss the case, and instead of addressing what the lawsuit is actually about—the Daily Mail’s false story, which it knew was false when it published it—the Daily Mail now wants to change the subject, and further disparage Mr. Lindell, by talking about Covid-19, the 2020 election, and what may or may not have been written on a notepad when Mr. Lindell visited the White House. The lawsuit is not about those things. It is about the Daily Mail acts of defamation against Mr. Lindell, with actual malice. Fortunately, federal judges focus on the issues that are relevant to a case, and ignore the things that aren’t. But it speaks volumes that the Daily Mail opens its legal brief addressing several things that have nothing at all to do with the case.
The Daily Mail’s lawyers, requesting oral argument, said that Lindell “failed to plead a cause of action for defamation,” meaning “dismissal is required under controlling federal and state law.”
The attorneys also said that Lindell should have to pay the Daily Mail’s legal fees for filing a “meritless” suit:
This Court also should find that Defendants are entitled to recover their attorneys’ fees incurred in defending against this meritless action, under New York’s amended SLAPP statute.
Read the original complaint and the Daily Mail’s response below:
[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
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