Tierney Sneed and Katelyn Polantz for CNN:
Allies of former President Donald Trump testified under oath that they did little to check out some of the uncorroborated claims they made about 2020 election fraud before amplifying them on the national stage, according to newly available court records reviewed by CNN.
While the bogus fraud claims have long been debunked, these latest revelations are being made in sworn depositions and highlight how little vetting was done by certain Trump allies seeking to spread doubt about the integrity of the presidential election results.
The more than 2,000 pages of documents reviewed by CNN provide the most significant look yet at evidence collected in several defamation cases brought against top Trump mouthpieces. In this lawsuit, former Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer alleges he was defamed by the Trump campaign, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and prominent conservatives.
According to the account that Giuliani gave in the case, he spent less than an hour reviewing allegations that Coomer was part of a plot to rig the election before publicly making those claims at a November press conference.
And when Powell was deposed by Coomer’s lawyer, she acknowledged that she did not have “a lot of specific knowledge about what Mr. Coomer personally did” in the supposed scheme to steal the election.
The new documents have already been cited in at least one other case stemming from bogus election fraud claims, where Wisconsin state officials are seeking sanctions against Powell for making those claims there. The Wisconsin officials say Powell and other Trump-aligned lawyers failed at “even the most basic” effort to verify conspiracy theories.
“Even a modicum of research — nothing more complex than a little Googling — would have demonstrated the absence of any basis for the theory advanced here that Dominion voting machines had altered individual votes, much less the outcome of the election,” the Wisconsin officials said, pointing to the new Coomer case documents.
Coomer, the former security director at Colorado-based Dominion, late last year sued the Trump campaign and various conservative media who pointed to him — and especially anti-Trump posts he made on social media — when making their vote rigging claims.
In court filings submitted with the depositions last month, Coomer argued that Trump team figureheads and right-wing media including One America News Network continued to spread misinformation even knowing it might not be true. In addition to the accounts from Powell and Giuliani, the documents give a behind-the-scenes look into how certain election-rigging claims traveled through conservative media with little attention to the credibility of the allegations.Showing evidence that a defendant knowingly communicated false statements is a key component in proving defamation claims.