The Hunting of Sidney Powell, Part 5

This is the last of a five-part series exposing the "lawfare" persecution of a conservative.

By Daniel Street Published on May 24, 2024

For parts 1-4 of this series, see here, here, here and here.

As previous installments in this series reported, Sidney Powell (among others) is the target of defamation suits filed by Eric Coomer, a former director of product strategy and security for Dominion Voting Systems, by Dominion Voting Systems itself, by Smartmatic (another voting software company), by Venezuelan businessman Majed Khalil, and by an individual named Staci Burk in Arizona (who brought bizarre claims for damages arising out of challenges to the 2020 election and related activities).

In the Dominion case and Smartmatic cases, the plaintiffs are seeking billions of dollars in damages for alleged defamation. The Venezuelan businessman, Khalil, sought $250 million in defamation damages. These suits began with Coomer’s in early December 2020 and rolled out at nearly monthly intervals, “as if coordinated to maximize headlines and bury me,” Powell told The Stream.

These cases are extremely costly and time-consuming to defend. It costs millions of dollars and countless hours, days, weeks, and months of time. The cases are pending in far-flung jurisdictions (Colorado, New York, and Washington, D.C.) nowhere near Powell’s practice in Texas.

Coomer and Antifa

Coomer sued multiple parties over statements and accusations, which were based on sworn witness affidavits, that he participated in an Antifa-organized conference call wherein he supposedly ensured listeners that President Donald Trump would not win the 2020 election. Though as Powell noted to The Stream, “Even though I recited only what sworn evidence in my hand showed,” her efforts to get Coomer’s defamation case against her dismissed were only partially successful, as the Colorado Court of Appeals dismissed the conspiracy claims, but none of the others. The case is expected to go to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Coomer and Dominion also sued the nonprofit Powell founded, Defending the Republic, even though it did not exist at the time the statements were made.

Roping in Giuliani and Fox News

Dominion filed a 124-page complaint against Powell, seeking $1.3 billion dollars in damages for defamation. Dominion contends Powell’s claims in broadcast and print media and court proceedings to the effect that Dominion was created in Venezuela and its election software and hardware may be used to switch votes and manipulate elections were defamatory. Powell’s motion to dismiss the Dominion suit was denied last month by the federal judge hearing the case in Washington, D.C. Counterclaims Powell brought against Dominion for abuse of process were dismissed by the same judge. The case is currently being litigated.

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Smartmatic originally sued Powell, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Fox News, and others in a New York state court for defamation. Smartmatic contends Powell’s claims that its elections system was used to hand the presidential election to Joe Biden were defamatory. The New York state court dismissed the claims against Powell, essentially saying that Powell did not have enough contact with the state for it to hear the case. That victory was short-lived, though, as Smartmatic filed another suit against Powell for $2 billion in federal court in Washington, D.C. in 2021. The case is currently being litigated.

The First Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court’s many decisions protecting free speech make the Dominion and Smartmatic cases more difficult for them to win. The landmark case New York Times v. Sullivan provides strong protection for speech directed at “public figures.” Under Sullivan, an allegedly defamatory statement about a public figure must not only be proven to be defamatory and untrue, but made with “actual malice” — that is, “with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” Public figures include not only elected officials, but also those with “influence over society” or even, in the case of limited public figures, one who “injects himself” into “public controversy” (such as Kato Kaelin in the O.J. Simpson murder trial). The law in this area is complex and beyond the scope of this article, so suffice it to say these principles should greatly complicate Dominion and Smartmatic’s claims, though the case is pending in the District of Columbia, where virtually no conservatives have received a fair trial since Biden took office.

Throwing Lawsuits at the Wall

Venezuelan businessman Majed Khalil filed his suit against Powell, former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, and Fox News in New York state court, contending that statements Powell made on Dobbs’s show defamed him by falsely connecting him to Dominion Voting Systems, Smartmatic, and the 2020 presidential election. The defendants moved the case from state court in New York to federal court in 2022. The federal court in New York dismissed the claims against Powell in Khalil’s suit, again, due to a lack of “personal jurisdiction” over her. Khalil did not file another suit against Powell and later settled his claims against Fox and Dobbs in a confidential settlement.

Finally, a truly bizarre claim in Arizona brought by Staci Burk against multiple defendants, including Powell, is still pending. Burk’s third amended complaint alleges false imprisonment, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and other claims arising out of Powell’s efforts to obtain election fraud data and evidence. Burk represents herself in the suit, which appears to be more of a nuisance than anything else; nevertheless, Powell must defend it in Arizona, which is burdensome and costly.

The simple fact is the multiple lawsuits would drain the resources of virtually anyone, other than a billionaire. Dominion and Smartmatic are big corporations with substantial resources and the willingness to litigate. Defending these many suits in distant jurisdictions would overwhelm most people. It costs a fortune, consumes massive amounts of time, and is physically and emotionally draining.

Odds are, of course, that is exactly why they were all filed against Powell.

The Georgia Indictment

In August 2023, Powell was one of 19 people, including Trump, indicted in the RICO case in Fulton County, Georgia. She swiftly moved to dismiss the indictment and litigate key issues that would benefit all defendants, but Powell’s motion to dismiss was denied (along with her many other pretrial motions).

Shortly thereafter, Powell entered a plea agreement to misdemeanor charges not made in the original indictment and pursuant to a provision of Georgia law that does not even create a conviction on the misdemeanors. Due to that and the fact that Powell agreed to be interviewed for this article, the Georgia indictment will not be discussed further. I did previously write about the Fulton County DA’s indictment and the plea agreements four of the defendants (including Powell) entered, for those interested in more reading.

Bowed But Unbroken

Sadly, the Left has abused the judicial process for years. Simply read Powell’s book Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice for a deep dive into that issue. It is beyond ironic that Powell literally wrote the book on everything she has faced since 2020. Since then, however, the Left has exponentially expanded its assaults by abusing the legal system, and judges failed to stop it. Trump has faced unprecedented baseless actions, as have former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliana, Professor John Eastman, and others. Giuliani has already been forced into bankruptcy by the lawsuits.

Powell played a significant role in efforts to challenge the 2020 presidential election results. For a few weeks afterward, she spoke out about the evidence she received, called for a real investigations, and sought the truth of what happened in the election. For about two months, she pursued legal challenges to the election results in four states, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Immediately, she faced ethics complaints filed with state bar associations, followed by efforts to sanction her and her co-counsel for the election lawsuits, along with defamation lawsuits from multiple parties in three states. The efforts against her rage on even now.

Most people would be beaten into submission by such merciless, relentless legal pummeling. I do not know if Powell was right about everything she said or did, but I admire her courage and tenacity. I can only imagine the pressure she has been under to give up.

Yet Powell keeps smiling and moving forward. She stays on her feet and keeps fighting back. We may all learn important lessons from that.

When all the smoke clears and all the attacks on her are over, let’s pray that Powell comes out on top.

If you would like to support Sidney Powell in her efforts, visit the website of her organization, Defending the Republic.

 

Daniel R. Street is an attorney with more than 25 years of litigation experience. He is the author of the Fake News Exposed about Trump book series. Links to his books, blog, social media, and more may be found at danielrstreet.com.

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