Monday, March 22, 2021

Sidney Powell’s Defamation Defense: No Reasonable Person Would Believe My Election Rigging Claims on FOX

Dominion Voting Systems sued Attorney Sidney Powell for $1.3 billion for defamation. The suit said that she knowingly made baseless claims about Dominion, its background, and the reliability of its results. The suit said that some of her comments were “inherently Improbable” if not “impossible.”

When you are sued, the first thing you try is to get the case thrown out before it is even considered. You might suggest that there are procedural reasons to have the case dismissed: wrong party being sued, wrong place to bring the lawsuit, wrong time to bring the suit, etc.

You can also claim that the complaint, even if everything in it is assumed to be true, would not give the person suing you any right to the relief they are requesting. This is called “failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.”

All of these arguments are raised in a “motion to dismiss.” Sidney Powell has raised virtually all of these arguments in her motion to dismiss the Dominion complaint.

For purposes of this note, I’ll focus on just the “failure to state a claim” argument.

You may remember from a couple of years ago that Tucker Carlson was sued for defamation. The complaint against him was dismissed because, according to the court, no reasonable person would believe that Carlson’s statements were factual. To put it bluntly, if you take what Tucker Carlson says on FOX at face value, you are stupid.

This is essentially the Sidney Powell defense. She quotes from the complaint’s allegations that her comments were “wild accusations” and “outlandish claims” to prove that a reasonable person would not believe her claims, even though they were repeated both on FOX and in some of her previously filed post-election lawsuits.

Tucker Carlson actually had a decent defense—that he is a pundit and not a journalist. It remains to be seen whether the judge will agree with Powell that her comments are, in actuality, political statements “that are inherently prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.”

Remember that defense: no reasonable person would believe her.

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