Dominion sues Rudy Giuliani in $1.3 billion defamation case, doesn't rule out suing Trump

Key Points
  • Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against former President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
  • The $1.3 billion lawsuit accuses Giuliani of pushing "disinformation to purposefully mislead voters" and causing "irreparable harm" to the company.
  • Asked if Dominion would take legal action against Trump himself, Dominion's legal counsel replied, "We're not ruling anybody out."
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, gestures after media announced that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 7, 2020.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Dominion Voting Systems filed another defamation lawsuit, this time against Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of spreading lies to "purposefully mislead voters" and causing "irreparable harm" to the company. It didn't rule out suing former President Donald Trump.

"While pushing the disinformation campaign that incited death threats and violence and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, Giuliani cashed in by hawking gold coins, supplements, cigars, and protection from 'cyberthieves,'" Dominion legal counsel Thomas Clare said in a statement Monday.

Giuliani was deeply involved in Trump's efforts to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The former New York City mayor argued repeatedly in public that Trump's win had been stolen by widespread electoral fraud.

Dominion accuses Giuliani of promulgating the "Big Lie" that Dominion had tampered with votes to fix the election for Biden, in order to "financially enrich himself, to maintain and enhance his public profile, and to ingratiate himself to Donald Trump for money and benefits he expected to receive as a result of that association."

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks more than $1.3 billion in compensatory and punitive damages. Dominion said in the 107-page legal complaint that its employees have been stalked, harassed and threatened as a "direct, foreseeable, and intentional result" of Giuliani's "viral disinformation campaign."

Giuliani "actively propagated disinformation to purposefully mislead voters," Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement. "Because Giuliani and others incessantly repeated the false claims about my company on a range of media platforms, some of our own family and friends are among the Americans who were duped."

Asked during a press call if Dominion would take legal action against Trump himself, Clare replied, "We're not ruling anybody out."

In a text message to NBC News, Giuliani said that the lawsuit "will allow me to investigate their history, finances, and practices fully and completely."

"The amount being asked for is, quite obviously, intended to frighten people of faint heart. 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 wrote.

"As such, we will investigate a countersuit against them for violating these Constitutional rights."

The former federal prosecutor Giuliani, who busted up the Mafia, represented the Trump campaign in court as it pushed to invalidate swaths of votes in key swing states that went for Biden.

Dominion's lawsuit said Giuliani never brought up allegations against Dominion in court. In federal court in Pennsylvania — one of dozens of failed cases from the Trump campaign and Trump's allies aimed at reversing the election — Giuliani had told a judge, "This is not a fraud case."

Rather, the complaint cites more than 50 statements made by Giuliani on social media, to conservative news outlets and at state legislative hearings.

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On those platforms, Giuliani had repeatedly accused Dominion of working with another company, Smartmatic, which he claimed "has tried and true methods for fixing elections."

Both companies have flatly rejected those and other claims, including that Smartmatic is corruptly tied to the Venezuelan government. That conspiracy theory gained widespread exposure when Sidney Powell, an attorney who was formerly connected with Trump's legal team, aired it during a much-criticized press conference in November with Giuliani.

Smartmatic said last month it was sending letters demanding retractions from Giuliani and Powell, as well as Fox News, One America News and Newsmax, all of which had published those "false and defamatory statements."

Dominion sued Powell earlier this month, also seeking at least $1.3 billion in damages.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 and is preparing for a Senate trial following his impeachment in the House for inciting a deadly insurrection at the Capitol, had fueled the baseless conspiracy that Dominion was flipping votes.

"On top of everything else, we have a company that's very suspect. Its name is Dominion. With the turn of a dial or the change of a chip, you could press a button for Trump and the vote goes to Biden. What kind of a system is this?" Trump said in December in a lengthy video.

In Monday's press call, Clare also suggested that the company could take action against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has also pushed false election fraud conspiracy theories about Dominion.

Lindell, who heavily advertises on Fox News, met with Trump at the White House shortly before Biden took office. Photographers there caught snapshots of the notes Lindell was carrying, which referenced martial law.

The company last week reportedly sent a cease and desist letter to Lindell, warning that "litigation regarding these issues is imminent."

In response, Lindell told Axios, "I want Dominion to put up their lawsuit because we have 100% evidence that China and other countries used their machines to steal the election."

Clare said Lindell "is definitely on our list and we will be looking at him," adding that the CEO "will eventually get his wish in terms of bringing it on."

Trump did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.