Ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell served at NC home with $1.3B Dominion Voting lawsuit

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Joel Burgess, William Cummings
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This article is published through the N.C. News Collaborative, a partnership of Lee Newspapers, Gannett and McClatchy newspapers in North Carolina that aims to better inform readers throughout the state.

After evading attempts for weeks by a civil process server that included being “pursued over state lines,” ex-Donald Trump lawyer Sidney Powell was served with a $1.3 billion lawsuit at her Biltmore Forest home, near Asheville, according to recently filed court papers by Dominion Voting Systems.

Dominion filed the defamation lawsuit against Powell Jan. 8 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But attempts to officially serve the Texas-based attorney with the summons took until Jan. 28, said attorneys for the company.

“Powell evaded service of process for weeks, forcing Dominion to incur unnecessary expenses for extraordinary measures to effect service, including hiring private investigators and pursuing Powell across state lines,” according to a Feb. 9 answer to Powell’s request for more time to respond to the complaint.

She is being sued over her false claims that the company, which manufactured electronic voting machines used by some districts in the 2020 election, changed votes for then-President Trump to votes for then-President-elect Joe Biden.

Powell’s wide-ranging conspiracy theory variously implicated Dominion, deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, the CIA and Chinese communists in a plot to rig the election against Trump. But federal and state judges repeatedly rejected, sometimes derisively, her efforts to prove her assertions in court.

Powell also is named in a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit by Smartmatic, a voting technology company, along with Fox News, three of its hosts and Rudy Giuliani, who served as Trump’s lawyer.

Powell’s Asheville connections

Powell had been active civically and professionally in the Asheville area, advocating for a new performing arts center and for domestic violence prevention. Little had been heard of her locally since 2014, when she was the featured speaker at a Buncombe County Bar luncheon.

She has owned the Biltmore Forest home with an appraised tax value of $812,700 since 2012. She also owned a home in Biltmore Park until 2017, county records show.

But in the weeks after the Nov. 3 election, she made national news with repeated claims of an anti-Trump plot and for being part of multiple legal efforts to overturn the results. She worked with the Trump campaign’s legal team for a time and appeared at a news conference with Trump attorneys Giuliani and Jenna Ellis.

But as Powell’s conspiracy theories drew national attention and ridicule, Giuliani and Ellis said in a Nov. 22 statement that she was “practicing law on her own.”

Court filings note that Biltmore Forest Police were present the night she was served with the summons. Police Chief Chris Beddingfield said officers were called after 9 p.m. about a suspicious vehicle near Powell’s house. The call was from a third party and likely a neighbor, Beddingfield said.

“We responded to the suspicious vehicle call, which turned out to be the process server, and was completely legitimate,” he said.