Lawyers for the voting machine company at the centre of Donald Trump’s election conspiracy theories have warned the White House they intend to sue the US president’s allies for defamation.
Dominion Voting Systems has written to several people close to the president warning them that legal action is imminent, the company’s chief executive said on Thursday, after enduring weeks of attacks over its role in last month’s election.
John Poulos told CNN on Thursday: “We did send a letter to several different people that have been spreading lies and defamatory remarks since election day on various different platforms.”
He added: “We fully expect that none of them will be retracting their statements, so it forces our hand to file action.”
Mr Trump has zeroed in on Dominion since losing last month’s election, making baseless accusations that the company was part of a conspiracy to steal votes from him. The company makes electronic voting machines that were used in 28 states on election day.
The outgoing president’s conspiracy theories have been taken up vociferously by several of his allies, as well as broadcasters on several rightwing news networks.
Most prominent among those allies has been Sidney Powell, a lawyer who has helped spread accusations that Hugo Chávez, the late Venezuelan leader, was behind a scheme to plant faulty voting machines across the US.
Dominion wrote to Ms Powell last week threatening legal action, and Mr Poulos said on Thursday she would be the first target of their lawsuits, calling her “the most egregious and prolific purveyor of these lies”.
He also said the company had written to Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, warning them to preserve any documents that could be relevant to a lawsuit.
The White House declined to comment. Neither Ms Powell nor Mr Giuliani immediately responded to a request to do so.
Tom Clare, one of Dominion’s lawyers, told the Daily Beast earlier this week he expected to file “multiple litigation matters” in January.
Smartmatic, another voting machine company that has been the subject of accusations by Trump allies, has threatened legal action against Fox News and two other conservative news channels, Newsmax and One America News Network. The company demanded that the channels retract accusations that the company had conspired to fix the election for Joe Biden.
Following that threat, both Fox News and Newsmax aired segments debunking the claims. Fox broadcast an interview in which Eddie Perez, director of the Open Source Election Technology Institute, was questioned about the claims by a voice from off-camera. Mr Perez then explained in detail why the allegations were untrue.
Mr Trump’s claims of a vast election fraud have been rejected by several organisations, including his own government’s cyber security agency, as well as in court. William Barr, the US attorney-general, said this week there was no reason to seize voting machines or appoint a special counsel to look into voter fraud.
The president reportedly considered giving Ms Powell a role at the White House to investigate electoral malpractice but is said to have since gone cold on the idea.