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MyPillow CEO sued by Dominion over election fraud claims

“Lindell — a talented salesman and former professional card counter — sells the lie to this day because the lie sells pillows,” Dominion said in the filing.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell speaks as President Donald Trump looks on, during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, on March 30, 2020. Al Drago/The New York Times

Dominion Voting Systems sued Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, on Monday, alleging that he defamed Dominion with baseless claims of election fraud involving its voting machines. The company is seeking more than $1.3 billion in damages.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and also named MyPillow, alleged that Lindell “exploited” false claims about election fraud to support his company’s sales.

“Lindell — a talented salesman and former professional card counter — sells the lie to this day because the lie sells pillows,” Dominion said in the filing. It said MyPillow’s “defamatory marketing campaign” — with promo codes like “FightforTrump” and “QAnon” — increased the company’s sales by 30% to 40%.

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“I’m very happy that they’ve done this,” Lindell said in a phone interview Monday. “I’m ready to go to court. I have all the evidence that anyone would ever want to see.”

Lindell, who is best known for appearing on boxes of his company’s pillows and in MyPillow’s infomercials, is a fierce supporter of former President Donald Trump and rose to new prominence this year as he promoted debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud. The claims, particularly those made after the Jan. 6 uprising at the Capitol, prompted a backlash against Lindell and MyPillow. A number of retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s, cut ties with the company while Twitter permanently suspended Lindell’s account.

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Dominion said Monday that it had written to Lindell multiple times, “put him on formal written notice of the facts, and told him that Dominion employees were receiving death threats because of the lies.”

“Instead of retracting his lies, Lindell — a multimillionaire with a nearly unlimited ability to broadcast his preferred messages on conservative media — whined that he was being ‘censored’ and ‘attacked’ and produced a ‘docu-movie’ featuring shady characters and fake documents sourced from dark corners of the internet,” Dominion said in the filing.

In an interview with The New York Times last month, Lindell said that he would “welcome” a lawsuit from Dominion after the company sent him a legal letter warning of pending litigation over his baseless claims involving their machines.

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“Dominion threatened to sue me and I said bring it on, I want you to, I 100% want you to,” Lindell said in the Jan. 25 interview. “But they won’t do it, and you know why they won’t do it? Because they know all the evidence will come out.”

Dominion said in its filing that through discovery, it “will prove that there is no real evidence” to support conspiracy theories claiming that the election was stolen.

MyPillow is based in Chaska, Minnesota, and is relatively small; Lindell said last month that it employed nearly 2,500 people. It was founded by Lindell, a former crack cocaine and gambling addict, after the idea for MyPillow came to him in a dream in 2004, according to his memoir. The business took off after it began airing infomercials in 2011, and Lindell’s interest in politics seems to have grown since then as well.

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MyPillow has said in court filings that it spends an average of $5 million a month on advertising. Much of that spending has been with Fox News, which raised Lindell’s profile with Trump, a close watcher of the network.

“I would not go out and risk everything I own, everything I have, if I wasn’t 100% being truthful and that’s it,” Lindell said Monday.

Defamation suits against individuals and networks who shared Trump’s election conspiracies have become a new front in the war against misinformation.

Dominion also filed defamation suits last month against two of the former president’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. Another voter technology firm, Smartmatic, filed its defamation suit against Rupert Murdoch’s Fox empire in early February, saying that anchors Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro harmed its business and reputation. Fox has filed a motion to dismiss that suit.

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