Dominion is suing Rudy Giuliani, seeking $1.3 billion in damages, after he spread the conspiracy theory that the vote-machine company rigged the election

rudy giuliani
Rudy Giuliani, the lawyer for then-President Donald Trump, at a news conference on November 19 about lawsuits contesting the results of the presidential election. Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Dominion Voting Systems filed a lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday.

  • The suit accuses the lawyer of defamation and is seeking more than $1.3 billion in damages.

  • Giuliani spread the conspiracy theory that Dominion's software changed votes in the 2020 election.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Dominion Voting Systems filed a lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday, accusing the lawyer of defamation after he promoted the baseless conspiracy theories that Dominion was responsible for election fraud.

The election-technology company is seeking more than $1.3 billion in damages.

In the lawsuit, Dominion accused Giuliani, former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, of creating "a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion," referring to more than 50 of his statements.

"Rudy Giuliani actively propagated disinformation to purposefully mislead voters," Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement. "Because Giuliani and others incessantly repeated the false claims about my company on a range of media platforms, some of our own family and friends are among the Americans who were duped."

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After Trump lost his reelection bid in November, Giuliani spread the conspiracy theory that Dominion and Smartmatic, a rival election-technology company, developed software that flipped votes from Trump to his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden. The allegations have been thoroughly debunked.

The lawsuit, the filing of which was first reported by The New York Times, outlines how Giuliani spread falsehoods about the election-machine company. Through hearings, television appearances, Twitter, and his own YouTube show, it said, Giuliani repeatedly accused Dominion of election fraud and misrepresented the company's security measures while doing so. The lawsuit also cited numerous other people who said they believed Giuliani's claims, which it argued demonstrated the scope of the damage.

Dominion's lawsuit also describes Giuliani's speech on January 6 ahead of the riot at the Capitol. At a Zoom press conference Monday, Tom Clare, an attorney representing Dominion, said it demonstrated the damage of Giuliani's falsehoods, and how people were motivated to act on them.

"The events of January 6 are highly relevant to show that people believed this lie, people believe these statements made by Giuliani and others in the area, and they internalized it," Clare said.

The lawsuit should come as no surprise to Giuliani. In December, Dominion's lawyers sent a letter to Giuliani telling him to preserve documents in anticipation of an "imminent" defamation lawsuit. They also sent a similar letter to MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a staunch ally of Trump, last week.

In a statement, Giuliani said he welcomed the lawsuit, and suggested he had not previously done a thorough investigation of Dominion's practices.

"Dominion's defamation lawsuit for $1.3B will allow me to investigate their history, finances, and practices fully and completely, he said."

Dominion to file more suits

In recent weeks, Dominion has gone on the offensive. It hired Clare Locke, a firm specializing in defamation lawsuits, to sue conspiracists. Earlier this month, Dominion filed a defamation lawsuit against the pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell, seeking more than $1.3 billion in damages, after she pushed a conspiracy theory about Dominion's machines that involved fantastical claims about secret ties to the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.

"Not only have these lies damaged the good name of my company, but they also undermined trust in American democratic institutions, drowning out the remarkable work of elections officials and workers, who ensured a transparent and secure election," Poulos said. "The thousands of hand recounts and audits that proved machines counted accurately continue to be overshadowed by disinformation."

Rudy Giuliani
Giuliani at a news conference on November 19. Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photos

Clare told The Times that Dominion would "certainly" file more lawsuits. "There are other individuals who have spoken the big lie and have put forward these defamatory statements about Dominion, but then there are also players in the media that have amplified it," he said.

In the press conference Monday, Clare said the company was still weighing whether to sue Trump. He also said he plans to address Lindell, who welcomed a lawsuit from Dominion.

Dominion's lawsuit also says that Giuliani's allegations about the company put its employees in danger. Its customer-support number was said to have received a voicemail message saying "We're bringing back the firing squad."

The need for heightened personal security cost Dominion $565,000, according to the lawsuit, bringing its total costs attributed to the voter-fraud claims to almost $1.2 million.

Dominion also claimed Giuliani profited from his election-fraud claims.

He "cashed in by hosting a podcast where he exploited election falsehoods to market gold coins, supplements, cigars and protection from 'cyberthieves,'" the company said. It quoted from a December 23 podcast in which Giuliani called the voting machines "crooked" and "calculated" and said they had cheated voters "throughout America in order to change the result of this election."

The Capitol siege on January 6 didn't affect Dominion's decision to sue Giuliani, Clare said.

Read Dominion's lawsuit below:

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This story has been updated.

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