Lawsuit is latest evidence of bogus ‘stolen election’ claims

Two years after former President Donald Trump’s false claims about widespread voter fraud sparked an attack on the US Capitol, more evidence is mounting that those who spread the misinformation knew they were wrong.

On Thursday, voting machine company Dominion filed court filings documenting that numerous Fox News figures knew there was no evidence to support the claims of Trump’s allies, but still aired it on the nation’s most-watched cable network. On the same day a special grand jury in Atlanta concluded that there is no evidence of the fraud Trump allegedly cost Georgia during the 2020 election.

In December, the January 6 Congressional Committee announced that Trump’s top advisers and even family members had repeatedly warned him that the allegations he made about cheating that cost him reelection were false—only for the President to make those allegations anyway.

The latest revelations aren’t just historical curiosities. They add to the body of evidence that there was no widespread fraud during the 2020 presidential election and that even some of Trump’s most prominent supporters were aware of that fact at the time.

Trump has announced that he will run for president again in 2024 and continues to repeat the lie which he lost in 2020 only for fraud and irregularities.

“It shows a profound cynicism about the political process and the gullibility of Trump’s supporters,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who has been closely following election fraud since 2020.

“It’s really playing with fire,” said Hasen. “It’s one thing to make extravagant and unproven statements about someone’s position on taxes or immigration.” But doing the same thing about the actual process of voting and counting the ballots is different, he said: “Lies about elections are a lot more dangerous than lying about actual politics.”

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From the start it was clear that Trump’s claims of widespread fraud were wrong.

Trump’s own Attorney General told him there was no evidence of significant wrongdoing related to the election. He and his supporters filed dozens of lawsuits and lost all but one of them in an attempt to reduce the time voters had to correct errors on absentee ballots in Pennsylvania.

Trump claimed that cheating cost him victories in key swing states that chose the White House – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But repeated ballot checks or Republican-controlled investigations in those states have found no evidence that anything happened.

In Michigan, an investigation by the GOP-controlled state Senate found no widespread fraud and debunked several false claims of irregularities by Trump allies. In Nevada, the Republican Secretary of State said there was no evidence of significant errors in the election. In Wisconsin, an audit by the impartial Legislative Audit Bureau — which reports to the Republican-controlled legislature — found the election there was “safe and secure.”

In Georgia, where Trump’s efforts to reverse the results are being investigated, the 2020 ballots were counted three times — each count confirming Biden’s victory. This included a handwritten recount of the 5 million ballots cast in the presidential race.

In Arizona, a months-long, flawed review of ballots in the state’s largest county, Maricopa, conducted by electoral conspiracy theorists ended up finding that Biden had won by a slightly larger margin than the official results showed. The review was no more reliable than the official record of Republican-run Maricopa County, which has repeatedly said there were no irregularities in its 2020 election.

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The latest revelation that people spreading Trump’s false claims knew there was no evidence to support them comes from a court filing of a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News. Dominion’s machines have been the target of accusations from Trump and other conspiracy theorists Late 2020 and last year, including allegations that they had been manipulated by an international cabal intent on defeating Trump.

In its most recent filing, Dominion cites texts and emails between prominent Fox figures who didn’t believe the allegations or the people most aggressively disseminating Trump, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and attorney Sidney Powell.

The Dominion filing alleges that the network was initially wary of allegations of fraud, with its top presenter, Bret Baier, privately stating “there is NO evidence of voter fraud” two days after the 2020 election.

But after Powell and Giuliani began raising allegations of cheating, which were picked up by conservative rivals, executives and top anchors began to worry about losing viewers to the conservative network Newsmax, which repeatedly peddled unrefuted claims from Trump’s side. Fox began inviting the two Trump allies to their shows, and top executives pushed back news reporters trying to fact-check the allegations.

“Sidney Powell is lying” because he has evidence of voter fraud, Tucker Carlson told a producer about the attorney on Nov. 16, 2020, according to an excerpt from a sealed exhibit. Two days later, according to the filing, Carlson told Laura Ingraham, another Fox News anchor, “Our viewers are good people and they believe it.”

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The next day, the lawsuit states, Carlson addressed the issue less bluntly on his show: “Perhaps soon Sidney Powell will provide details of exactly how this happened and exactly who did it.” … We are confident that she will.”

Fox then filed a countersuit against Dominion, alleging that it attempted to suppress coverage of a political controversy and denying the allegations made by Dominion and its agents.


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