Dominion Voting Systems has filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani, following months of baseless claims from Donald Trump’s personal lawyer that the company’s systems were rigged in favour of the Democrats in 3 November’s presidential election.
The 107-page lawsuit, which was filed by the company in the Federal District Court in Washington, DC, on Monday, accused Mr Giuliani of carrying out “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion” that was made up of “demonstrably false” allegations, according to The New York Times.
The suit is seeking damages of more than $1.3bn (£1.15bn) and is based on more than 50 statements made by Mr Giuliani on Twitter, his podcast and in the media.
In those statements, Mr Giuliani claimed that Dominion, which is one of the biggest voting machine manufacturers in the US, rigged its systems to flip votes from Mr Trump to then Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Mr Giuliani filed around 50 lawsuits in several swing states lost by Mr Trump in an attempt to overturn the election, and has been widely criticised for his baseless claims. There is no evidence for claims of widespread fraud in 3 November’s election.
Earlier this month, the chairman of the New York State Senate’s Judiciary Committee formally requested that Mr Giuliani have his law licence revoked because of his claims.
He led the effort from the Trump campaign and its allies to overturn the election results and made several false comments on social media and on TV about Dominion.
In one statement on Twitter, Mr Giuliani said that “phoney Dominion voting machines” needed to be investigated, while as recently as last week, he said on his radio show that he has “boxes of evidence to support his claims,” adding: “So long as you have Dominion, there is clear and present danger.”
However, in the lawsuit, Dominion notes that Mr Giuliani did not mention the company in any of his court filings, where he could have faced legal ramifications for making false claims.
“Notably, not a single one of the three complaints signed and filed by Giuliani and other attorneys for the Trump Campaign in the Pennsylvania action contained any allegations about Dominion,” the lawsuit filed on Monday said.
The lawsuit also claims that Mr Giuliani’s false claims about Dominion helped lead to the Capitol riots that took place on 6 January, as he mentioned the company in a speech at a rally prior to the insurrection and several times on social media as the Capitol was breached.
Five people lost their lives and several more were injured in the riots, as Mr Trump was impeached by the House for the second time for his role in inciting the riots at the “Stop the Steal” rally held nearby.
“Having been deceived by Giuliani and his allies into thinking that they were not criminals — but patriots ‘Defend[ing] the Republic’ from Dominion and its co-conspirators — they then bragged about their involvement in the crime on social media,” the lawsuit says.
However, Thomas A Clare, a lawyer representing Dominion, said that the riots did not factor into the company’s decision to sue Mr Giuliani, but showed how seriously Mr Trump’s followers took the false claims.
In an interview with the New York Times, Mr Clare said: “From a defamation law perspective, it just demonstrates the depth to which these statements sink in to people.”
He added: “That people don’t just read them and tune them out. It goes to the core of their belief system, which puts them in a position to take action in the real world.”
Last week, Dominion sent a cease-and-desist letter to MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell after he repeatedly supported Mr Trump and Mr Giuliani’s false claims, and Mr Clare suggested to the New York Times on Monday that more lawsuits will be filed soon.
“There will certainly be others,” he said. “There are other individuals who have spoken the big lie and have put forward these defamatory statements about Dominion, but then there are also players in the media that have amplified it.”
Mr Clare also refused to rule out filing a lawsuit against Mr Trump, adding: “Obviously, this lawsuit against the president’s lawyer moves one step closer to the former president and understanding what his role was and wasn’t.”
The Independent has contacted Mr Giuliani for comment.