US Law Week

Giuliani Accused in Suit of Pushing Vote Lies to Make Money (3)

Jan. 25, 2021, 5:38 PM

Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani exploited false election-fraud claims to hawk gold coins, cigars and supplements on a podcast, according to a $1.3 billion defamation suit by a voting machine company that Giuliani and others painted as central to a vast conspiracy.

Dominion Voting Systems Inc.’s lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Washington, may now force Giuliani to defend his actions in spreading what the company says are bogus claims that it helped flip millions of votes to President Joe Biden and cost Trump a second term in office.

“He and his allies manufactured and disseminated the ‘Big Lie,’ which foreseeably went viral and deceived millions of people into believing that Dominion had stolen their votes and fixed the election,” the company alleged in its complaint.

Giuliani, who didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment, retweeted a link Monday to his statement to WABC radio, where he is also a host. The lawyer said the lawsuit will allow him to investigate Dominion’s history and finances.

“It is another act of intimidation by the hate-filled left-wing to wipe out and censor the exercise of free speech, as well as the ability of lawyers to defend their clients vigorously,” Giuliani said. “As such, we will investigate a countersuit against them for violating these Constitutional rights.”

Dominion previously sued former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation, after she led the charge against the company by claiming foreign enemies had infiltrated its voting software as part of a vast conspiracy. She hasn’t yet responded to that allegation, including an email seeking comment on Monday morning.

The suit against Giuliani, who allegedly sought to charge the Trump campaign $20,000 a day for legal work on election-related lawsuits, comes after the bogus conspiracy helped inspire a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, following a rally at which Trump and Giuliani spoke.

‘Not a Fraud Case’

“Even after the United States Capitol had been stormed by rioters who had been deceived by Giuliani and his allies, Giuliani shirked responsibility for the consequences of his words and repeated the Big Lie again,” Dominion said.

Others may also be sued for making claims about the company. Giuliani, Fox News and the Trump White House itself were among those who received letters from Dominion’s attorneys in December.

Read More: Powell Sued by Dominion for $1.3 Billion Over Fraud Claims

In its new complaint, Dominion said Giuliani spoke frequently about the false conspiracy in public settings but declined to make voter-fraud claims in court, where he’d have to prove it. In one Pennsylvania hearing, the former New York City mayor admitted that the Trump campaign “doesn’t plead fraud” and that “this is not a fraud case.” The company also alleges Giuliani may have played a key role in convincing Trump to keep up the fight.

“People close to Trump have said that Giuliani encouraged Trump to believe a number of conspiracy theories about voting machine irregularities, and some Trump allies feared that Giuliani was encouraging Trump to continue the fight because he saw financial advantage for himself,” Dominion said in the complaint. “Multiple people briefed on the matter said that Giuliani asked the Trump Campaign to pay him $20,000 a day.”

Trump said in financial forms that Giuliani provided his legal services for free.

According to the suit, Giuliani touted false claims about Dominion while marketing gold and silver coins on his YouTube show in December, saying, “I accomplished a lot in 2020, exposing the truth,” and warning viewers that in uncertain times the one thing they can count on to protect their finances “is physical gold and silver.”

‘Rudy Sent You’

“He recommended that his viewers buy gold from ‘the company you can trust’ and told them to ‘give them a call and tell them Rudy sent you,’” according to the complaint. “And, Giuliani advised, ‘if you call them right now, they’ll give you up to $1,500 of free silver on your first order.’”

Dominion said the lawsuit is needed to “set the record straight, to vindicate the company’s rights under civil law, to recover compensatory and punitive damages, and to stand up for itself, its employees, and the electoral process.”

Dominion’s earlier suit against Powell also seeks $1.3 billion. She repeatedly claimed its software had ties to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013.

The case is Dominion v. Giuliani, 21-cv-213, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

(Updates with details on Giuliani’s retweeted response, his alleged search for legal fees.)

To contact the reporter on this story:
Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net

Steve Stroth, Anthony Lin

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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