U.S. News

Ex-Trump lawyer Powell asks judge to toss voting machine company's $1.3 billion lawsuit

(Reuters) - Sidney Powell, a lawyer who advised President Donald Trump’s campaign, asked a judge on Monday to throw out a $1.3 billion lawsuit accusing her of spreading false conspiracy theories about the November presidential election.

FILE PHOTO: Sidney Powell, an attorney later disavowed by the Trump campaign, participates in a news conference with former U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani (not pictured) at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Powell said in a filing in federal court in Washington that there was a “no basis” for the lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems Inc in January.

Powell, represented by three lawyers, argued that claims she made about Denver-based Dominion were protected by the right to free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

She said her claims about Dominion were meant to be hyperbolic, and that “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts through the adversary process.”

Powell, appearing with longtime Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, charged without evidence at a November news conference that Dominion’s electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to Democrat Joe Biden.

In later media appearances, Powell falsely claimed that Dominion was created in Venezuela to rig elections for that country’s late president, Hugo Chavez, and that Dominion bribed Georgia officials for a no-bid contract.

“Powell’s wild accusations are demonstrably false,” Dominion’s lawyers said in their lawsuit.

Trump referred to Powell as one of his “wonderful lawyers and representatives” in a Nov. 14 tweet.

Giuliani and another Trump legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, later distanced themselves from Powell, saying in a statement released by the campaign that Powell “is not a member of the Trump Legal Team.”

Dominion has a similar lawsuit pending against Giuliani, which also seeks $1.3 billion in damages. He has also said his remarks were constitutionally protected speech.

For two months after losing his re-election bid to Biden, Trump loudly argued that he lost due to rampant electoral fraud, claims that were rejected by multiple courts and state election officials.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney