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Trump allies including Giuliani lose bid to dismiss Dominion vote machine lawsuits

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Sidney Powell, an attorney later disavowed by the Trump campaign, participates in a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Aug 11 (Reuters) - Three prominent allies of former U.S. President Donald Trump -Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell - on Wednesday lost a bid to dismiss multibillion dollar lawsuits saying their false claims about the 2020 presidential election defamed the Dominion voting equipment company.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington D.C. said in a written decision that lawsuits brought against the trio by Dominion Voting Systems should move forward. The company had said it was defamed because Trump and his supporters spread false claims that it rigged the election against him.

Nichols held that the First Amendment, which protects the right to free speech, offers "no blanket immunity" to Powell and Lindell in the lawsuits. Powell is a lawyer who later left the Trump campaign. Lindell is a conspiracy theorist who founded a pillow and bedding company.

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The judge also rejected an argument by Giuliani, a former U.S. prosecutor and mayor of New York, that Dominion had not explained its request for money damages with enough specificity.

A Dominion spokesperson said: "We are pleased to see this process moving forward to hold (the defendants) accountable."

Howard Kleinhendler, a lawyer for Powell, said they were disappointed with the decision. "However, we now look forward to litigating this case on its merits and proving that Ms. Powell’s statements were accurate and certainly not published with malice."

Lawyers for Giuliani and Lindell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dominion has sought $1.3 billion in damages from the three, who supported Trump's false claims that President Joe Biden could not have won the election in which the company's voting machines were used.

Denver, Colorado-based Dominion has filed multiple lawsuits against Trump allies and conservative television networks, and has said it has not ruled out suing Trump.

On Tuesday, Dominion filed defamation lawsuits against two conservative media networks, One America News Network and Newsmax Media Inc, for amplifying Trump's election fraud claims. In those cases, Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages from each network.

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Reporting by Jan Wolfe in Boston and David Thomas in Chicago; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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