Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Mike Lindell on Monday over the MyPillow founder's repeated and discredited claims that it helped steal the 2020 election for President Joe Biden.
The voting software company is also suing his Chaska-based company, accusing him of embarking on an election fraud crusade as a way to boost MyPillow's brand and sales, and raise his political profile for a possible run for governor in Minnesota.
"He's not the guy from the infomercials," said Megan Meier, an attorney for Dominion who compared Lindell's current activities to his long past of gambling. "We're talking about a former professional card counter who's gifted with numbers, interested in game theory, algorithms and deviations, and he knows what he's doing."
Lindell has openly invited a lawsuit from Dominion for more than a month, insisting that proof of election fraud would come out in the legal discovery process and threatening to sue the software company if they didn't sue him first.
"This is good news," Lindell said on Monday. "If they wanted to go to court tomorrow, I'm ready."
But he told the Star Tribune that the addition of MyPillow to the lawsuit was "more of an attack on the American people." He said he worries thousands of people could be put out of work.
Monday's lawsuit is the third defamation case filed by Dominion against Trump allies. The company has also sued Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell over their efforts to spread claims about the company in a bid to overturn the 2020 election. Before suing Lindell, the company sent the MyPillow executive at least three notices seeking retractions of his statements and warning of legal actions.
In late December, programs on Newsmax, Fox News and Fox Business started airing corrections and clarifications to baseless allegations of "rigged" voting machines after legal threats by Dominion and another voter machine company, Smartmatic.
In a 115-page federal civil complaint filed in the District of Columbia, Dominion argued that Lindell and his company used false claims about the 2020 election to wage a "defamatory marketing campaign" that boosted MyPillow sales by 30 to 40% and "continues duping people into redirecting their election-lie outrage into pillow purchases."
Lindell told the Star Tribune in multiple interviews over the past month that MyPillow has seen direct sales skyrocket since early January when retailers began dropping his products from store shelves.
But Lindell on Monday started to walk back these statements, calling the lawsuit's allegation that he is doing all this to grow his company "a lie."
"They said I did it to make MyPillow a bigger brand when I've lost over 20 retailers, I've lost my MyPillow Twitter account, I've lost stuff I had with Google, I've lost YouTube," Lindell said, "so obviously my motivation is to bring you to justice, Dominion, and to save our country."
Anticipating the possibility of being dragged into the legal dispute, several weeks ago MyPillow's President Jim Furlong had his personal lawyer and the company attorney review the potential legal arguments. They believe Dominion will have a difficult time holding the company liable for Lindell's actions, Furlong told the Star Tribune.
Dominion's lawyers told reporters Monday morning that MyPillow is profiting off this election fraud campaign and has facilitated Lindell's claims, citing donation links on the company's website and its social media platforms being used to promote them.
"Mr. Lindell says a lot of things based on what's convenient at the time," Meier said Monday. "We are interested in finding out in discovery what actually the truth is about what has happened to his sales as a result of this."
Dominion also said that it warned Lindell a day before his Feb. 5 "Absolute Proof" two-hour video aired of "numerous red flags and flaws in the fake evidence" Lindell described in what he and his producers called a "docu-movie."
"Despite repeated warnings and efforts to share the facts with him, Mr. Lindell has continued to maliciously spread false claims about Dominion, each time giving empty assurances that he would come forward with overwhelming proof," Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement Monday.
Poulos said Lindell's claims "have caused irreparable harm to Dominion's good reputation" and "have undermined trust in American democracy and tarnished the hard work of local election officials."
Dominion said Lindell does not truly believe the "Big Lie" that he is spreading about the company stealing votes from Donald Trump in favor of President Joe Biden. In Monday's lawsuit, Dominion said Lindell "was well aware" of the circumstances that led to Trump's early leads being surpassed by Democratic-leaning mail ballots: Trump had consistently discouraged supporters from voting by mail and election officials in many states were prohibited from counting such ballots before Election Day.
Postelection audits and hand recounts helped certify the results while revealing no widespread fraud or vote manipulation, the company argued.
Lindell has used the optics of early Trump leads evaporating in swing states to falsely suggest that Dominion's machines had algorithms installed that would allocate more votes for Biden than Trump. He has called it a "miracle," saying a surprising outpouring of Trump voters "broke" those algorithms and revealed the fraud.
Lindell also helped fund a 20-city "March for Trump" bus tour that prominently featured MyPillow advertisements and appearances by Lindell at stops around the country that culminated in the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C. Later that day, a pro-Trump mob waged a deadly insurrection on the U.S. Capitol after the former president called for the election to be overturned and urged his supporters to "fight."
Meier said Monday that Dominion and its legal team believe Lindell has used election fraud conspiracy theories to boost pillow and book sales, and angle for "an anticipated endorsement for his potential run for governor of Minnesota" in 2022.
On Monday, Lindell remained defiant.
"They sued Sidney [Powell] two months ago and they haven't done a thing to her. This is all smoke and mirrors and just a big play for them," Lindell said.
Yet a significant delay in Powell's case comes after the company had to hire private investigators after Powell "evaded service of process for weeks," according to a court filing. On Monday, Dominion attorneys told reporters that they hope Lindell follows through on his own previously stated desire for a speedy legal process.
Speaking just after Dominion filed its suit, Lindell described having marshaled a defense team that he called his "offense" and seemed ready to engage in court. Lindell declined to say who would be representing him in the lawsuit. Doug Wardlow, a Republican who announced recently that he would again challenge Attorney General Keith Ellison in 2022, is Lindell's general counsel.
"I've been gathering evidence," said Lindell. "I already have my defense, I already have my evidence. I don't even have to do one more thing."