Michigan is seeking to use far-right attorney Sidney Powell’s defense in a defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems against her, stating in a court filing that her claim that her unfounded allegations of voting machine fraud should not have been construed as statements of fact offers support for the state’s pursuit of sanctions against her over similar claims of fraud she made there following the presidential election.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson had previously asked the court to sanction Powell and her co-counsel and plaintiff, after Powell unsuccessfully sued the state and asked the court to overturn its presidential election over unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
Many of those fraud claims involve Dominion voting machines, and the company has filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Powell for spreading those claims and alleging them in court.
In a March motion to dismiss Dominion’s lawsuit, Powell’s attorneys argued the lawyer’s statements about Dominion were not necessarily intended to be portrayed as true, and “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel asked a federal court Tuesday to include Powell’s motion and its “series of stunning admissions” as part of its consideration over whether she should be sanctioned.
Adding the motion to dismiss to the sanctions request wouldn’t be an “unfair surprise” or cause harm to Powell and her co-counsel, the filing argues, because the statements “came from Ms. Powell herself.”
In an email to Forbes, Powell called the Michigan filing “‘Horsefeathers’ and yet another political publicity stunt—not to mention a waste of taxpayer resources.”
Powell has criticized media accounts of her motion to dismiss as misleading and said she still believes in the election fraud claims, despite the court filing suggesting they are not meant to be interpreted as true. “Oh no, I am not backtracking a bit,” Powell said on the Dinesh D’Souza Podcast Saturday when asked about the court filing. “I firmly believe everything I said was true.”
Powell has been the primary person spreading baseless claims alleging voting machines from Dominion and rival company Smartmatic fraudulently swung the election to Joe Biden, which there is no credible evidence to support. The attorney’s lawsuits involving the claims all failed in both the lower courts and at the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Trump administration and campaign distanced themselves from Powell—despite President Donald Trump himself reportedly wanting to appoint Powell as a special counsel to investigate election fraud. Powell is now facing widespread consequences for her fraud claims. Dominion and Smartmatic have filed billion-dollar lawsuits against Powell and Michigan officials are seeking to have her disbarred in addition to their requests for sanctions. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has also asked a federal court to have Powell and her co-counsel and client sanctioned and forced to pay more than $100,000 in legal fees for her lawsuit against the state, and an ethics complaint has been filed against her and other lawyers in Arizona.