The judge appeared amenable to Smartmatic’s claim that Lindell had spread baseless rumors about election fraud.
A Minnesota-based federal judge has determined that controversial MyPillow C.E.O. Mike Lindell must face a defamation lawsuit filed by elections technology company Smartmatic.
According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright denied Lindell and MyPillow’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, finding ample evidence that Lindell—an outspoken Trump supporter—ignored publicly available information that contradicted his conspiracy theories of widespread election fraud.
Judge Wright also found that Lindell knew, or should have known, that his statements were false.
As such, Wright said that Lindell may have acted with “actual malice,” the legal threshold necessary to maintain a defamation claim.
“Crazy like a fox. Mike Lindell knows exactly what he is doing, and it is dangerous,” Smartmatic said in its initial filing. “Lindell intentionally stoked the fires of xenophobia and party-divide for the noble purpose of selling his pillows.”
Smartmatic, a United Kingdom-based company, alleged that Lindell used election-related conspiracy theories to bolster his own reputation and increase MyPillow sales.
The MyPillow brand, said the lawsuit, was an “ubiquitous feature” that was “strategically placed” during Lindell’s many media appearances.
- Erik Connelly, an attorney for Smartmatic, said that the company is pleased with the ruling.
“Mr. Lindell continues to spread disinformation and, by doing so, jeopardizes secure and accurate voting in the United States and elsewhere,” Connelly said in a statement. “It must come to an end.”
Smartmatic, adds Reuters, operated voting machines in Los Angeles County in 2020, and maintains that it found no irregularities in its ballot counts.
Lindell, for his part, has maintained his lack of culpability. Earlier this year, the MyPillow C.E.O. said that he was “excited” to present evidence against Smartmatic, which he continued to accuse of participating in or otherwise facilitating election fraud.
“They’re guilty,” Lindell said earlier this year. “They’ve attacked us and were part of the biggest crime in history against our country. And they’re going to all go to prison.”
Lindell also insisted that his beliefs are genuine, saying that he lost more than $80 million after retailers dropped his products.
Lindell said that he has since spent an estimated $30 million of his own money trying to prove that election fraud was responsible for Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election.
In his motion to dismiss Smartmatic’s defamation lawsuit, Lindell said that the theories “are not inherently improbable,” and were based on publicly available knowledge about problems with voting machine systems.