MyPillow Chief Executive Officer Mike Lindell must face a defamation suit filed by a voting machine maker that was falsely accused of participating in a conspiracy to rig the 2020 election against former President Donald Trump.
A federal judge in Minneapolis Monday denied MyPillow and Lindell’s motion to dismiss the suit by Smartmatic. U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright said there was a “wealth of information” that could have tipped off the defendants that the conspiracy theory was false, including individual states’ election reports and public statements by election officials.
Wright said Smartmatic had reasonably alleged that Lindell’s false statements about the company were made with “actual malice,” a key threshold for a defamation claim to survive against a public figure, which under US law includes corporations.
Lindell’s lawyer, Andrew D. Parker, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Smartmatic, whose voting machines were only used in Los Angeles County in 2020, claims Lindell’s conspiracy theory has made its brand “synonymous with election fraud in the minds of members of the public and government officials.” A competitor, Dominion Voting Systems Inc., has filed similar suits against Lindell and others.
Lindell last week also had his phone seized by FBI agents while he was in his car at a Hardee’s fast-food restaurant in Minnesota, where MyPillow is based. He later said on social media the search warrant for his phone was tied to a probe of a county clerk in Colorado accused of tampering with voting machines.