Breaking: Dominion sues Powell for defamation -- seeking $1.3 billion; Update: "a motley crew of conspiracy theorists, con artists, armchair 'experts'"

Dominion CEO John Poulos warned Sidney Powell that the company would soon file its defamation lawsuit over her claims of communist conspiracies and stolen elections. Today’s the day, the New York Times’ Alan Feuer reports, and it comes with a hefty price tag. Dominion wants $1.3 billion and change from Powell for the damage she did to the company’s reputation.

That’s a lot of money, so perhaps that’s why she’s listed as defending herself at the moment:

“Sidney Powell pro se“? What happened to Lin Wood, who had answered on her behalf when Dominion sent preliminary demands? Maybe Powell has her doubts about Wood’s compis mentis status these days, too.

Forbes followed up shortly afterward, noting that this won’t be the last lawsuit Poulos files:

Dominion Voting Systems filed a lawsuit against former Trump campaign legal advisor Sidney Powell Friday for defamation, court records show, after the attorney promoted a baseless conspiracy theory tying the company’s voting machines to widespread election fraud, which the company has threatened could be the first in a series of lawsuits targeting Trump allies who have spread the false claims—and potentially the president himself. …

While going after Powell was Dominion’s first priority, the company has suggested it may file subsequent lawsuits against others who have spread the conspiracy theory. Dominion has sent letters warning of potential litigation to the White House, Fox News, Newsmax, One America News and a number of Trump-allied individuals, including his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News personalities Sean Hannity and Maria Bartiromo, conservative attorney Lin Wood and Melissa Carone, who Giuliani has pushed as a witness to the purported election fraud. “We’re looking at everybody…every actor that has made these types of false allegations about us, and also the news media outlets that have allowed these allegations to be amplified, unfettered and unchecked,” Dominion CEO John Poulos told Axios Monday, saying their legal efforts would be “thorough and exhaustive.” Poulos has also not ruled out that the company could sue Trump himself.

Don’t think for a moment that Poulos is finished with this, but a couple of the targets might still avoid getting dragged into court. Both Newsmax and Fox News might have done enough to cover themselves with a reportorial cloak, at least organizationally. Both outlets offered debunking primers about the Dominion conspiracy theories after weeks of amplifying them; is that enough to put on a news-coverage defense? They’ve got the deepest pockets in the case, so Dominion’s lawyers will fight like hell to keep them in the suit. They’re also smart enough to negotiate settlements, so expect to see the two outlets disentangle themselves at the first and least expensive opportunities.

As for the individuals targeted, including Powell, they probably won’t be so fortunate. They have made a lot of claims without any evidence for weeks, and Poulos might want the satisfaction of forcing them to either put on obviously ludicrous testimony or to fold in court. Rudy Giuliani might be next, after his renewed claims of Dominion corruption at the now-infamous Mall rally that provoked the sacking of Capitol Hill and five deaths.

Powell’s supporters assume that this will be some sort of briar-patch strategy to get Dominion to reveal the Super Secret Evidence That Will Explain Everything. However, it looks much more like Poulos wants a court record showing that these people are either grifters, insane, or both. It’s worth the legal costs at this point to get Dominion into the clear via a direct court record; not only their business but the safety of their employees depends on it.

Update: The complaint is up, and paragraph 5 is rather biting. Paragraph 6 accuses Powell of manufacturing testimony, which could get her disbarred if proven in court:

5.Although Powell assured the public during television and radio appearances that her claims were backed by “evidence,” Powell’s “evidence” included declarations from a motley crew of conspiracy theorists, con artists, armchair “experts,” and anonymous sources who were judicially determined to be “wholly unreliable.”3 One of Powell’s wholly unreliable sources was a purported “military intelligence expert” who has now admitted that he never actually worked in military intelligence, that the declaration Powell’s clerks wrote for him to sign is “misleading,” and that he “was trying to backtrack” on it.4 After he was discredited, Powell pivoted by presenting his declaration as having been written by a different anonymous source.

6.During some of her media appearances Powell also touted a shocking declaration from an “anonymous source” purporting to be a Venezuelan military officer alleging a decades-old conspiracy beginning with now-deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez.5 But the explanation in the “anonymous witness’s” declaration for why he purportedly came forward was a near-verbatim recitation from another declaration put forward by Powell, proving that those witnesses did not write their declarations independently and raising serious questions about what role Powell and her team played in drafting the declaration.6

Yeah, discovery should be really interesting.

Update: I’ve corrected one paragraph above; Fox News, at least, ran those segments before Dominion’s letter. I’ve just removed the time reference to make the statement more general.