Wednesday, June 7, 2023
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Trump Backers Seek to Fend Off Defamation Lawsuit by Dominion Operative

'There were serious doubts about election fraud at the time. The context is important...'

(Headline USA) Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, its onetime attorney Rudy Giuliani and conservative media figures asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by a former employee of Dominion Voting Systems who claimed he lost his job after being outed as a radical left-wing activist.

Eric Coomer, a former security director at Colorado-based Dominion, further claimed in the lawsuit he was driven into hiding by death threats after the Trump campaign and others publicized an unverified report that Coomer told activists of the Antifa movement in a pre-election telephone call that the vote could be fixed for Joe Biden.

Despite ample evidence that points to election interference by several overlapping systems of cabalistic partisan operatives—including Dominion—case after case has fallen short of the legal standard needed to demonstrate widespread vote ‘fraud’ or else has been dismissed by judges for procedural reasons.

Key to the success of any libel/defamation case, though, is that it is the burden of the plaintiff—Coomer—to show that the defendants put forth knowingly false information.

If Coomer fails to prove that he did not make the call to Antifa, that would normally be basis for dismissal.

Critics have dismissed the efforts by Dominion to sue high profile conservative figures and media outlets as an effort to intimidate them from pursuing the truth.

Coomer’s Denver District Court lawsuit names the Trump campaign, Giuliani and onetime campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, the website Gateway Pundit, Colorado activist Joseph Oltmann and One America News Network.

The case centers around reporting of the alleged September 2020 phone call by Oltmann.

His attorney said that Oltmann identified someone referred to as “Eric” on the purported call as Coomer by Googling the name and Dominion. Oltmann also found private anti-Trump social media posts by Coomer, said attorney Andrew DeFranco.

Oltmann publicized his findings on a podcast, and he was both interviewed about it and it was picked up by the other defendants, the lawsuit alleges.

Both President Trump and his son Eric Trump tweeted references to the report.

Giuliani and Powell both referred to Coomer in a post-election news conference alleging fraud.

DeFranco said the defendants were aiming to create an even greater burden of proof for the plaintiff by forcing them not only to disprove Coomer’s involvement with Antifa, but also to prove that Oltmann and those who repeated the allegations acted, in fact, with willful negligence or reckless disregard for the truth.

The legal standard varies depending on whether the plaintiff is a private or public figure, but in both cases, the intent to harm the plaintiff through false statements must be present. The plaintiff is further obligated to demonstrate that real damages resulted.

“This case is not about whether Coomer was on the call in September 2020. This is about whether Oltmann reasonably believes that Coomer was on the call,” DeFranco said. “He believes it to this day.”

Defranco, Giuliani attorney Joe Sibley and Trump campaign attorney Eric Holway argued their clients didn’t act with malice, that the report was public knowledge, and that Coomer was a public figure—all conditions that should preclude Coomer from prevailing in his defamation suit.

Judge Marie Avery Moses repeatedly asked defense counsel if their clients investigated or tried to fact-check Oltmann’s claim.

Counsel replied that their clients had a First Amendment right to address a report already in the public realm. Some insisted that there was no coordination or conspiracy against Coomer or Dominion, as Coomer’s lawsuit contends.

“There were serious doubts about election fraud at the time. The context is important,” Holway said.

Dominion, which provided vote-counting equipment to several states, has denied accusations that it switched Trump votes in Biden’s favor.

Coomer has insisted he has no connections to Antifa, was never on any call and that there is a recording of him is “wholly fabricated.”

He also has said that right-wing websites posted his photo, home address and details about his family. Death threats began almost immediately.

Coomer’s attorneys said they will present evidence of a pre-conceived narrative of election fraud looking for a target and that the defendants found one in Coomer. The hearing to dismiss his lawsuit continues Thursday.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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