Giuliani sued for defamation

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City and personal lawyer for Donald Trump, is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems, maker of electronic voting hardware and software, for defamation.

After a comfortable win by Democratic candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 presidential election, conservative voices such as then-president Trump, Giuliani, Fox News and MyPillow, Inc. CEO Mike Lindell launched a campaign to depict Dominion-made voting machines as biased in favor of Democratic candidates. A narrative created and pushed by conservative media, news of this campaign reached millions on Twitter alone, and engulfed national news headlines for weeks after the election. 

Public trust in Dominion Voting’s ability to facilitate free fair elections diminished, with the most distrust coming from conservative Republicans. Workers for Dominion Voting began to receive death threats, as well as threats to their personal health and to their families. 

In November and December of 2020, Giuliani represented Trump in the courts for several lawsuits, losing each case. The arguable culmination of the Republicans’ nationwide campaign to “stop the steal” came in the form of the Jan. 6 assault on the nation’s Capitol. While the entirety of Congress convened to practice their Constitution-bound obligation of certifying Biden as the next president, a mob of Trump supporters invaded not only the building grounds but the building itself, leading to the death of at least four rioters and the murder of Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick.

Dominion Voting Systems’ suit, filed Monday, Jan. 25, calls for $1.3 billion in damages for Giuliani’s defamation. As defined by Oxford Languages, defamation is defined as “the action of damaging the good reputation of someone; slander or libel.” Slander is defined as “the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation”; libel is defined as “a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.”

In a separate previous lawsuit, Dominion Voting sued former Trump attorney Sidney Powell on Jan. 8 for defamatory comments made against the company. Chief among Powell’s comments was a claim that Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan leader who passed away in 2013, had a hand in founding Dominion Voting Systems.

According to Dominion Voting’s “Setting the Record Straight” page, the company began in Canada and eventually “was…incorporated in the United States.” The lawsuit against Powell calls for $1.3 billion in damages to the company’s efficacy.

The lawsuit against Giuliani comes amid continued efforts by Republican lawmakers to portray the 2020 presidential election as flawed. During a Jan. 24 interview with George Stephanopolous on ABC’s “This Week,” Senator Rand Paul claimed that the news media has been neglecting full coverage of the election’s voter fraud, preferring to eschew towards “the liberal side” and to declare all attempts to examine election integrity as attempts to mislead the citizenry.

In response to questions about the history of voter fraud, Guilford College political science professor Ken Gilmore provided an article from National Geographic titled “Voter Fraud Used to be Rampant. Now It’s an Anomaly.” Article writer Erin Blakemore noted that the United States has struggled with voter fraud in the past, with the Democratic Tammany Hall “political machine” of mid-nineteenth century New York City arguably being the most famous example. Fraud and fear tactics against potential Black voters within the Jim Crow South prevented generations of U.S. citizens from exercising  their constitutional right to vote.

“The most recent example of systematic voter fraud was by Republicans in the 9th District of North Carolina in 2018,” Gilmore added.