Washington — Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit on Monday against Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, seeking $1.3 billion in damages after Giuliani launched a wide-reaching "viral disinformation campaign" that exposed the company "to the most extreme hatred and contempt," it said.
The company, which was at the center of conspiracy theories peddled by Giuliani and conservative lawyer Sidney Powell, filed its 107-page complaint in federal district court in Washington arguing the former New York City mayor "exploited election falsehoods" to make money. The company against Powell earlier this month.
"Giuliani has directly accused Dominion of fraud, election fixing, conspiracy, and bribery, which are serious crimes," lawyers for Dominion wrote in their filing in the Giuliani case. "For Dominion — whose business is producing and providing voting systems for elections — there are no accusations that could do more to damage Dominion's business or to impugn Dominion's integrity, ethics, honesty, and financial integrity."
The company said Giuliani, together with allies and conservative media outlets that pushed a "false preconceived narrative" about the presidential election, "launched a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion that reached millions of people and caused enormous harm" to the company.
The complaint cites scores of claims made by Giuliani after the November 3 election on television, Twitter, his radio show and podcasts, in which he alleged without evidence that Dominion's machines that were used during the election switched or deleted votes to benefit President Joe Biden. Giuliani also repeatedly claimed Dominion was founded in Venezuela for the purpose of rigging elections.
"Dominion was not founded in Venezuela to fix elections for Hugo Chávez," the company said in its lawsuit. "It was founded in 2002 in John Poulos's basement in Toronto to help blind people vote on paper ballots."
Dominion's lawyers said as a result of Giuliani's statements, its employees were stalked, harassed and received death threats, and the company lost money. One employee received a text message that said "we are already watching you. Come clean and you will live," the company said, while another received an email with the subject line "Time is up" and the message "You have 24 hour."
Dominion said it has spent more than $565,000 on private security to protect its employees and incurred more than $1.1 million in expenses to mitigate the damage to its reputation.
Mr. Giuliani's claims about Dominion were far-reaching, the company said, as his tweets about Dominion were "liked"more than 534,000 times and retweeted more than 160,000 times. During a three-hour span on December 21, the company said the term "dominion" and "fraud" were tweeted together by more than 2,200 Twitter users around the country with more than 8.75 million followers in all.
The defamation suit follows a 15-page retraction demand sent from Dominion to Powell on December 16, which detailed the false claims she and Giuliani made during a press conference and on television. The company also sent Giuliani a letter December 22 demanding he stop making the false claims and instructing him to preserve materials for future litigation.
The warnings, however, did little to deter Giuliani, Dominion said, as he continued to peddle unfounded theories about the firm, including on the morning of the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
In the 2020 election, Dominion's voting machines were used in 28 states and its systems are reviewed and tested by testing laboratories accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. After Mr. Trump and his allies claimed the election was stolen and votes for the president deleted or flipped, both Dominion and a coalition of federal election groups released a statement rejecting the allegations.
"There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised," a statement posted Thursday from Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said.
Dominion also said it "categorically denies any claims about any vote switching or alleged software issues with our voting systems."