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Sidney Powell Uses Same Defamation Defense as Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Show



Attorney Sidney Powell is defending herself from a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit using the same tactic successfully deployed by Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show last year.

Dominion Voting Systems is suing Powell for a series of statements claiming that the company was involved in a wide-ranging conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election for President Joe Biden.

Powell’s attorneys have said in a court filing that no reasonable person would have believed her allegations as fact and therefore she can’t have defamed Dominion. This approach was successfully argued by lawyers representing Fox News in a 2020 defamation case.

“[I]n light of all the circumstances surrounding the statements, their context, and the availability of the facts on which the statements were based, it was clear to reasonable persons that Powell’s claims were her opinions and legal theories on a matter of utmost public concern,” Powell’s lawyers wrote.

“Those members of the public who were interested in the controversy were free to, and did, review that evidence and reached their own conclusions—or awaited resolution of the matter by the courts before making up their minds.”

The filing also points to Dominion’s own description of the statements to support their case. The company described Powell’s comments as “wild accusations” and “outlandish claims.”

“Such characterizations of the allegedly defamatory statements further
support Defendants’ position that reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts through the adversary process,” Powell’s attorneys said.

They summarized that “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”

This is the same argument that attorneys for Carlson made when he was sued for defamation by former Playboy model Karen McDougal. She claimed Carlson had defamed her in 2018 by suggesting she was extorting then President Donald Trump based on the allegation that he’d had an affair with her.

Trump was alleged to have paid McDougal $150,000 through intermediaries in order to “catch and kill” her story.

When the case came to court in 2020, U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil accepted the Fox News attorneys’ argument that no reasonable person would flatly accept Carlson’s claims to be factual rather than opinion.

“Fox persuasively argues . . . that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer arrives with an appropriate amount of skepticism about the statements he makes,” Vyskocil wrote.

“[W]hether the Court frames Mr. Carlson’s statements as exaggeration, non-literal commentary, or simply bloviating for his audience, the conclusion remains the same—the statements are not actionable.”

Powell was an attorney representing Trump for a brief period during which she pursued unsubstantiated claims against Dominion.

This was part of a broader push by the former president and his allies to contest the results of the 2020 election. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, was also a major figure in the effort.

It remains to be seen if Powell will be as successful as Carlson. Dominion Voting Systems is also suing MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and Rudy Giuliani.

Attorney Sidney Powell speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election, inside the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Powell’s attorneys are arguing that no reasonable person would have believed her claims about Dominion Voting Systems.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images



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