(Headline USA) A former top-level employee of Dominion Voting Systems who was reportedly caught on tape bragging at an Antifa conference call about having rigged the November presidential election has filed a defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s legal team and some of its top allies.
In a pre-election call with Antifa, someone identifying himself as “Eric from Dominion” allegedly told the domestic terrorism group, “Don’t worry about the election—Trump is not going to win. I made f**king sure of that.”
After being identified by conservative media, Eric Coomer, the erstwhile director of strategy and security for Dominion, claims he was driven into hiding by death threats.
Coomer—whose has since been removed from the page listing Dominion’s directors—insists the allegations were “wholly fabricated.”
“I have been thrust into the public spotlight by people with political and financial agendas, but, at heart, I am a private person,” he said in a statement.
“While I intend to do everything I can to recapture my prior lifestyle, I have few illusions in this regard,” he said. “And so, today, I put my trust in the legal process, which has already exposed the truth of the 2020 presidential election.”
As well as being part of the public-relations push to rehabilitate himself and his former company, Coomer’s claim that he is private citizen may involve a bit of legal posturing, since there is a long tradition of protecting media under the First Amendment for reporting that involves public figures.
Coomer’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in district court in Denver County, Colorado, names Conservative Daily podcaster Joseph Oltmann (who first went public with the allegation), along with the Trump campaign, lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, and three conservative media outlets: the Gateway Pundit, Newsmax and One America News Network.
In order for his lawsuit to succeed, he would need to prove that the allegations were false, that he was materially harmed by them and that those making them acted in reckless disregard for the truth.
Should he be deemed a public figure, Coomer also would need to establish that the accusations were made with the intention of actual malice and that the accusers knew them to be false at the time.
But that effort could easily backfire if he fails to meet the burden of proof. Thus far, even the leftist “fact-checking” site Snopes has been unable to debunk the claims.
The website said Oltmann hasn’t cooperated in its attempts to verify the story. Instead, Snopes labeled them “unproven,” meaning that its researchers had declined to do the legwork required for independently verifying them.
Recordings of the alleged conference call with Antifa organizers were initially posted on YouTube before the Google-owned platform began actively suppressing evidence of vote fraud from being made publicly available.
Oltmann, who was monitoring the call, said he subsequently researched Dominion and identified Coomer as the presumed culprit.
Additional confirmation came from radical anti-Trump posts on Coomer’s personal Facebook account, according to the Gateway Pundit. Coomer’s lawsuit acknowledged that he made comments critical of the president on his private Facebook page, which is now inactive.
Oltmann’s charges spread after he was interviewed by Malkin and Gateway Pundit. Eric Trump tweeted about them. OANN, and its White House correspondent Chanel Rion, reported on them.
Powell, who initially misidentifyed Coomer as working for Smartmatic instead of Dominion, said at a news conference that Coomer’s “social media is filled with hatred” for Trump, and she later repeated her charges in a Newsmax interview.
Giuliani, at a news conference, called Coomer “a vicious, vicious man. He wrote horrible things about the president … He is completely warped,” according to the lawsuit.
Unfortunately for Coomer, statements that clearly express opinion or conjecture generally are not regarded, in the legal sense, as defamation, since it would be impossible to disprove what someone feels or believes about the purported victim.
Thus, for his case to succeed he would likely need to show, with evidentiary certainty, that he was not involved in any vote-rigging efforts.
Dominion has emphatically denied accusations that it switched Trump votes in Biden’s favor. But President Trump and his supporters have been steadfast in maintaining that there is indisputable evidence to the contrary.
Along with hundreds of witness affidavits alleging abuse—some of which directly implicate Dominion—a forensic report commissioned by Antrim County, Michigan, is among the most damning pieces of evidence against the company.
That report confirmed that Dominion had actively and intentionally sought to interfere in the election by manipulating its voting software to flag errors at a rate of 68% and redirect the disputed ballots for manual adjudication with little to no oversight.
Nonetheless, the Colorado-based company—which has been tied to several powerful and wealthy Democrat leaders—has seen some success in using the threat of legal action to chill further reporting.
Although executives have played the victim, claiming—without evidence—that they have been relentlessly harassed and threatened by Trump supporters—the company recently threatened Powell with another defamation suit if she did not retract her claims.
Following similar threats, Fox News Channel and Newsmax aired retractions of some claims made on their networks.
Fox is not being sued, and Coomer actually uses Fox host Tucker Carlson to buttress his case. The lawsuit notes a scheduled Powell appearance on Carlson’s show did not happen after she could not provide evidence for her charges.
Notwithstanding, as far as Coomer’s case is concerned, it is not necessary for the defendants to prove the statements are true if he fails to establish that they are false.
If Coomer does succeed in disproving the allegations and establishing a malicious intent, he may have an easier time meeting the legal burden of demonstrating actual damages.
He told The Associated Press earlier this month that right-wing websites posted his photo, home address and details about his family. Death threats began almost immediately.
He said his father, an Army veteran, received a handwritten letter asking, “How does it feel to have a traitor for a son.”
“It’s terrifying,” Coomer said. “I’ve worked in international elections in all sorts of post-conflict countries where election violence is real and people are getting killed over it. And I feel that we’re on the verge of that.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press