Zoe Tillman for BuzzFeed:
Sidney Powell argued Monday that she couldn’t be sued for defamation for repeatedly promoting false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election being rigged because “no reasonable person would” believe that her comments “were truly statements of fact.”
In the months after the election, the Texas-based attorney became one of the most public faces of a campaign to discredit President Joe Biden’s win. Vowing to “release the Kraken,” she pushed the lie that the election was stolen from former president Donald Trump. In numerous TV and public appearances, as well as in court, Powell spread conspiracy theories that two voting equipment companies, Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, were part of a Democrat-backed scheme to “steal” the election by rigging voting systems to flip votes for Trump to Biden, count ballots more than once, and fabricate votes for Biden.
Now facing billion-dollar lawsuits from both companies and having lost all of her court cases challenging the election, Powell is on the defensive. On Monday, her legal team filed a motion to dismiss Dominion’s $1.3 billion lawsuit, or at least to move it from the federal district court in Washington, DC, to Texas. They argued that the election fraud narrative that Powell had spent months touting as grounds to undo the presidential election was “hyperbole” and political speech entitled to protection under the First Amendment.
Even if Powell’s statements were presentations of fact that could be proven as true or false, her lawyers wrote, “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”
Powell deflected blame to the Trump supporters who adopted the conspiracy theories and lies that she and other Trump allies pushed and that ultimately fueled the insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6. Her lawyers wrote that she was just presenting her “opinions and legal theories on a matter of utmost public concern,” and that members of the public who were interested were “free” to look at the evidence and make up their own minds or wait to see how the evidence held up in court.