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Smartmatic voting company sues Mike Lindell and MyPillow over election claims

Defamation suit follows larger one by Dominion

US-NEWS-MYPILLOWS-MIKE-LINDELL-IS-TRUMPS-1-MS.jpg
My Pillow founder Mike Lindell. Smartmatic, a voting technology company, filed a federal defamation lawsuit against Lindell this week over his false conspiracy theories around the 2020 presidential election and the company.
Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune / TNS file photo
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ST. PAUL -- “Crazy like a fox. Mike Lindell knows exactly what he is doing, and it is dangerous.”

Those are the first words of a federal defamation lawsuit filed this week in Minneapolis against Lindell and his Minnesota company, MyPillow, by Smartmatic, a voting technology company Lindell has often targeted with false conspiracy theories around the 2020 presidential election.

The lawsuit is similar to a $1.3 billion suit filed last year by Dominion Voting Systems against Lindell, who has continued to promote or stand by his claims that the election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump without credible evidence and often after the claims have been disproven or discredited by fellow Republicans or courts.

Those falsehoods, spread across the internet, have taken root in some quarters of the Republican Party, and according to the lawsuit, they’ve damaged the reputation and actual value of Smartmatic, an international elections company that saw its value plummet from $3 billion to $1 billion. The complaint doesn’t provide specifics, but suggests that Smartmatic is losing out on government elections contracts as a result of Lindell’s repeated statements, which it states are demonstrably false.

In its own words, Smartmatic, which was founded in Florida following the notorious failings of punch-card ballots in the 2000 presidential election there, played a “small, non-controversial role” in the 2020 general election, the complaint, filed Tuesday, states. While the company has operated in more than 25 countries, its only involvement in the U.S. general election of 2020 was in Los Angeles County, Calif.

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The lawsuit alleges Lindell knows his claims are false — a potentially important claim in a court case — although it doesn’t appear to present any direct evidence. Like the Dominion suit, Smartmatic accuses Lindell of peddling his theories for money.

Lindell responds

Lindell, who was banned from Twitter a year ago for his baseless election claims, has suggested, among other notions, that Smartmatic machines were hacked by China to change voting results in every state.

He has not provided credible evidence, although he insists he has.

Lindell’s pugnaciousness is well-known among those who have followed the man, a 60-year-old Mankato native who recovered from gambling and cocaine addictions and founded MyPillow in 2004, earning the moniker “the MyPillow guy.”

In a telephone interview Thursday with the Pioneer Press, Lindell stood by his claims and said he welcomed the lawsuit. He criticized this reporter, the Pioneer Press, a number of Republicans who have debunked various elements of what has become known as “the big lie,” and judges who have reviewed election claims (“not one judge has ever looked at the facts”). No judge has concluded that any state’s election results were inaccurate.

Lindell said that Trump won Minnesota by 65,000 votes, when in fact he lost by 233,012, and said that Minnesota needed to switch to paper ballots.

Mike Lindell, CEO of My Pillow, stands outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington
Mike Lindell, CEO of My Pillow, stands outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington on Jan. 15, 2021.
Erin Scott / Reuters file photo

When this reporter informed him that every Minnesota ballot is paper, he responded: “You are dead wrong. They’re all machines. How naïve are you?”

Lindell’s legal sagas could have impacts in Minnesota politics.

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Lindell, a Trump loyalist, has toyed with the idea of running for Minnesota governor, but on Thursday reiterated that he no longer plans to.

MyPillow’s general counsel, Doug Wardlow, is seeking the Republican nomination to run for state attorney general in hopes of a rematch against Democrat Keith Ellison, who defeated Wardlow in 2018.

Lindell said Wardlow had no involvement, and pointed the Pioneer Press to a different law firm that has handled his other cases, according to court records.

Wardlow couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Suit: Lindell in it for money

Lindell’s claims have led to several lawsuits. After Dominion sued him, he sued Dominion and Smartmatic, for $1.6 billion, claiming they were the ones defaming him. Smarmatic has also sued Sydney Powell, a former member of Trump’s legal team.

Smartmatic’s suit filed this week against Lindell seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.

Beyond that, it seeks to repudiate Lindell, demanding he be required to “fully and completely” retract his “false statements,” which the suit alleges are part of a “brilliant” scheme to make money.”

The lawsuit states:

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“Mr. Lindell knows Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. He knows the election was not rigged, fixed, or stolen. He knows voting machines did not switch votes from former President Trump to now President Biden. These facts do not matter to Mr. Lindell because he knows he can sell. Mr. Lindell knows he can sell xenophobia. He knows he can sell conspiracy theory. He knows he can sell a preconceived story about voting machines stealing democracy by stealing votes from a president who is incredibly popular with millions of Americans. And, of course, Mr. Lindell — “the MyPillow Guy” — knows he needs to sell pillows to keep and increase his fortune. …

“But enough is enough. The country will sleep better at night knowing the judicial system holds people like Mr. Lindell accountable for spreading disinformation that deceives and harms others.”

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