Toronto's Dominion Voting Systems sues Rudy Giuliani for $1.3B US

Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.3 billion US lawsuit against former U.S. president Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of defamation in what it called his "big lie" campaign about widespread fraud in the presidential election, court documents on Monday showed.

Trump's personal attorney the latest to be served by Canada-U.S. voting systems company

Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. president Donald Trump's personal attorney, appears at a Michigan legislative hearing on voter fraud in Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 2, 2020. Giuliani is accused of defamation in a $1.3 billion US lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems. (Mike Mulholland/The Grand Rapids Press/AP)

Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.3 billion US lawsuit against former U.S. president Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of defamation in what it called his "big lie" campaign about widespread fraud in the presidential election, court documents on Monday showed.

Trump and his allies spent two months denying his election defeat to Democrat Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election, and claiming without evidence that it was the result of widespread voter fraud, before his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

"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 lawsuit says. "Giuliani's statements were calculated to — and did in fact — provoke outrage and cause Dominion enormous harm."

Giuliani and his lawyer, Robert Costello, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Giuliani has stood by his claims about the election, saying during a radio show last week he is being attacked for "exercising my right of free speech and defending my client."

Dominion is seeking $1.3 billion in damages from the former New York City mayor, alleging in the lawsuit that "he and his allies manufactured and disseminated the 'Big Lie,' which foreseeably went viral and deceived millions of people into believing that Dominion had stolen their votes and fixed the election."

The company, which formed in Toronto in 2002 and has U.S. headquarters in Denver, Co., filed an earlier lawsuit against Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, whom the company also accused of spreading false conspiracy theories for two months about the election.

Lawsuit meant 'to set the record straight'

Dominion said it filed the Giuliani lawsuit "to set the record straight" and to "stand up for itself, its employees, and the electoral process."

Dominion states in its lawsuit that it has spent $565,000 on private security to protect its employees, who are facing harassment and death threats.

A worker passes a Dominion Voting ballot scanner while setting up a polling location at an elementary school in Gwinnett County, Ga., on Jan. 4, in advance of the state's U.S. Senate runoff election. (Ben Gray/The Associated Press)

Separately, a senior Dominion employee, Eric Coomer, has also filed a defamation lawsuit against the Trump campaign, saying he had been driven into hiding because of death threats from Trump supporters.

Dominion is a major U.S. manufacturer of voting machines, and various Dominion machines were used in more than two dozen states during the 2020 election. The company's systems have also been used in federal leadership races and in some provinces and municipalities, according to the Canadian Press.

Conservative media figures also put on notice

One of those states, Michigan, had threatened Dominion founder John Poulos with a subpoena in order to testify at a state senate committee hearing.

At the Dec. 15 session, Poulos appeared voluntarily and rebutted a series of allegations and conspiracy theories that had been put forth, pointing out to Republican lawmakers that no one had accused the company of criminal wrongdoing "under oath," only in the court of public opinion and on social media.

"It is technologically impossible to see votes being counted in real-time or to flip them," said Poulos, of one allegation. "The comments about our company being started in Venezuela with Cuban money with the intent to steal elections are beyond bizarre and are complete lies," he said, addressing another claim.

President and CEO of Dominion Voting Systems John Poulos, seen on Jan. 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., rebutted a series of claims about election fraud last month at a Michigan hearing. (Alex Wong/Fetty Images)

Poulos also repeatedly pointed out that paper ballot counts matched the tabulations of Dominion's machines.

In addition to the Trump campaign officials, Dominion has also threatened several media figures at Fox News, Newsmax and OANN with potential legal action.

Some pundits at those channels have already been forced to air a retraction of false claims levelled against another voting software company, Smartmatic.

Earlier this month, the right-wing website The American Thinker admitted fault over several articles it published from contributors after Dominion threatened legal action.

"Post-truth is pre-fascism." So wrote historian Timothy Snyder in his 2017 book, On Tyranny. He penned it in the lead-up to Donald Trump's inauguration, and he's been warning ever since: The United States is not exceptional, a coup could be attempted there, too. Now, Trump's presidency is in its dying days. He has been impeached by the House again, this time for "incitement of insurrection." But the big lie, as Snyder calls it, that Trump seeded — that the 2020 election was stolen from him — what becomes of that lie now? Today on Front Burner, Snyder explores that question.

"These pieces rely on discredited sources who have peddled debunked theories about Dominion's supposed ties to Venezuela, fraud on Dominion's machines that resulted in massive vote switching or weighted votes, and other claims falsely stating that there is credible evidence that Dominion acted fraudulently," the website said.

"These statements are completely false and have no basis in fact."

A group of prominent attorneys last week asked New York's judiciary to suspend Giuliani's law licence because he made false claims in post-election lawsuits and because he urged Trump's  supporters to engage in a "trial by combat" shortly before they stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

With files from CBC News