Rudy Giuliani and other Trump lawyers from 2020 campaign ask judge to throw out 'baseless' defamation lawsuit brought by former employee of Dominion Voting Systems who they accused of rigging election
Lawyers for former President Trump's 2020 re-election campaign and his ex-attorney Rudy Giuliani are attempting to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by a former employee of Dominion Voting Systems who claims they cost him his job.
Eric Coomer, a former director of product strategy and security for the company, filed the lawsuit in Denver, Colorado last December.
The lawsuit claims Coomer was driven into hiding by death threats after the Trump campaign and others publicized an unverified report saying Coomer told Antifa activists in a pre-election telephone call that the vote could be fixed for Joe Biden.
Attorney Andrew 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.
They say those conditions that should preclude Coomer from prevailing in his defamation suit.
However, Coomer says that their actions have ruined his life.
'Today I have filed a lawsuit in Colorado in an effort to unwind as much of the damage as possible done to me, my family, my life, and my livelihood as a result of the numerous false public statements that I was somehow responsible for 'rigging' the 2020 presidential election,' Coomer said back when he filed suit.
Despite repeated claims and lawsuits by President Trump and other conservative figures, there has been no evidence that the 2020 Election contained widespread fraud or was rigged.
Among the names in Coomer's lawsuit: onetime Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, right wing website The Gateway Pundit and One America News Network.
The case mainly centers around an alleged phone call made by Colorado activist Joseph Oltmann in September 2020.
When the prospect of a Trump victory was brought up, Oltmann said a man identified as 'Eric from Dominion' supposedly said 'don't worry about the election, Trump is not going to win. I made ... sure of that,' adding an expletive.
Oltmann's attorney identified someone referred to as 'Eric' on the purported call as Coomer by Googling his name and Dominion.
Attorney Andrew DeFranco also claimed to have found private anti-Trump social media posts by Coomer.
The lawsuit acknowledged that Coomer made comments critical of the president on his private Facebook page; he now says his page is inactive.
Oltmann publicized his findings on a podcast, and he was both interviewed about it and had the story spread by the other defendants, the lawsuit alleges.
Both President Trump and his son Eric tweeted references to the report as the campaign launched ultimately unsuccessful lawsuits after the election alleging there was widespread voter fraud.
Trump, who had earlier tweeted about a legal effort to try to prevent states that went for certifying Biden from certifying their results, tagged OANN and its Washington correspondent, Chanel Rion.
'REPORT: DOMINION DELETED 2.7 MILLION TRUMP VOTES NATIONWIDE. DATA ANALYSIS FINDS 221,000 PENNSYLVANIA VOTES SWITCHED FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP TO BIDEN. 941,000 TRUMP VOTES DELETED. STATES USING DOMINION VOTING SYSTEMS SWITCHED 435,000 VOTES FROM TRUMP TO BIDEN,' read the all-caps missive.
President Trump was banned from Twitter following the Capitol insurrection on January 6.
Oltmann's charges spread after he was interviewed by Malkin and Gateway Pundit. Eric Trump tweeted about them. OANN and Rion reported on them.
Powell, misidentifying Coomer as working for Smartmatic, 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.
Newsmax, OANN and Fox News had to roll back their election fraud claims because Dominion and software company Smartamatic threatened to sue.
Fox News Channel, another network popular with Trump supporters, is not being sued and Coomer actually uses Fox's 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.
Coomer said 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.'
'Elections are not about politics; they are about accurately tabulating legally cast votes.'
DeFranco claims that the suit isn't about whether Coomer was defamed at all.
'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,' he added.
Judge Marie Avery Moses repeatedly asked defense counsel if their clients investigated or tried to fact-check Oltmann's claim.
The defense 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 had earlier told CPR News: 'I have a personal political opinion. I may share that with friends and family, but I have never participated, or belonged to, any political groups, political action groups, social justice groups.
'I do not donate to political campaigns. I don't donate to any PACS or anything like that.'
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.