Sidney Powell lost the plot.
To protect herself from a billion dollar libel lawsuit, Trumpist lawyer was supposed to stick to her wacky opinions that a voting tech company somehow stole the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and didn’t try to present conspiracy theory as a question of fact.
But she couldn’t help it. And now, legal experts tell The Daily Beast, she could be in even more serious trouble.
Powell caught the nation’s attention last month for his bizarre claim at a MAGA rally in Dallas that twice-indicted former President Donald Trump could be “reinstated” as commander-in-chief. But a little-noticed part of this May 29 appearance could turn out to be more substantial. In it, she likely damaged one of the main arguments her lawyers are using in an attempt to push back the billion dollar lawsuit over her baseless claims about the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic have filed multi-billion dollar libel lawsuits against Powell and others for libel over its public claims about the company and its products, including its savage claim that its software was part of ‘a Venezuelan plot to steal elections and create masses of bogus votes for Biden. In response, Powell’s lawyers attempted to argue that his statements were not meant to be factual, but rather statements of opinion protected by law.
In a March 22 motion to dismiss the Dominion case, Powell’s attorneys argued that “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were really statements of fact” and that they are simply “his opinions and theories. on a matter of the utmost public importance. “(In the United States, statements of opinion are protected from claims of defamation if they cannot be” proven as fact “or if they use” vague language , figurative or hyperbolic which would deny the impression that the author seriously “maintained a position as fact.)
But half an hour after the Dallas Patriot Roundup panel began at the end of last month, Powell appeared to step away from the defense his lawyers had set out, according to several videos reviewed by The Daily Beast.
“I don’t think they realized that some of us trial lawyers were going to hang on to the fire and expose what really happened or that they could silence us by chasing me,” for example, $ 4.3 billion in three states, ”Powell said at the roundtable. “Threatening me is like waving a red flag at the mouth of a bull.”
Dominion’s lawsuit against her should be dismissed, Powell continued, because “number one they don’t have jurisdiction over us and number two we believe what we said and we have the evidence to back it up.”
At the very least, the statement was a tactical error, according to defamation law experts, one that could come back to haunt her in court.
“This appears to be a hugely damaging admission by Ms Powell ousting her main defense, which is based on a distortion of opinion doctrine to begin with,” Ted Boutrous Jr., attorney at Gibson Dunn and expert in defamation law , told the Daily Beast. “Dominion will have a field day with this statement opposing his efforts to dismiss the case before trial, and in front of the jury if and when the case goes to trial.”
But Powell went further. If Dominion’s lawsuits against her and her legal defense organization, Defending the Republic, are not dismissed, “then we will get a discovery against Dominion and we will be in violation,” she added.
“Powell’s rather odd statement will certainly not help his defense,” said Sam Terilli, professor at the University of Miami’s School of Communication and former general counsel for the University of Miami. Miami Herald. “It’s just hard to know in advance, but it could clearly be a problem.”
“Her position – ‘I can prove it’ – is definitely at odds with the position of her lawyers:” No one would take it as anything other than an opinion, “added Ken White, First Amendment lawyer and former federal prosecutor. “It’s tricky, though. Typically, at this point, a court will not consider extrinsic evidence like its statements – they consider what’s in the complaint and what’s on the public record (like court documents, etc.). The way it could play out is for the judge to ignore it for now but reconsider it at a later stage (like summary judgment) if the claims against her survive.
Lawyers for Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.
Powell is one of a handful of pro-Trump figures whose post-election claims about the Dominion and Smartmatic voting systems have sparked libel lawsuits. Smartmatic and Dominion have both filed lawsuits against Powell, Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and Fox News. In addition, Dominion has also sued Trump ally and pillow mogul Mike Lindell for his dizzying array of claims about the company’s products.