(Fred Weinberg) – Let’s say that you are very upset by what you have seen in last year’s Presidential election. You genuinely believe that there was enough vote fraud to shift the election to Joe Biden. What the left calls the “big lie”.
And, let’s say that you happen to be the CEO of a company which is a large advertiser on radio and TV.
And let’s also say you are not shy about making your opinion known—in fact, you produced a movie about election fraud.
Does that entitle a manufacturer of voting machines to sue you for $1.3-BILLION? That is, after all, a number which makes for a great headline.
There are two answers for that question. One is the legal answer and the other is the practical answer. The legal answer is embodied in a case the Supreme Court heard in 1964 which has been seminal law since it was decided. That case is New York Times (which was once a real newspaper) vs. Sullivan. Sullivan used to be the Police (or Public Safety) Commissioner of Montgomery, Alabama.
The Times took an ad raising money for Martin Luther King. Sullivan took offense and demanded a retraction even though he was not mentioned in the ad but he felt it reflected poorly on his Police Department. The Times rightfully said…no.
Sullivan sued for libel.
A unanimous court said that when a statement concerns a public figure, it is not enough to show that it is false for the press to be liable for libel. Instead, the target of the statement must show that it was made with knowledge of or reckless disregard for its falsity. Justice Brennan used the term “actual malice” to summarize this standard, although he did not intend the usual meaning of a malicious purpose. In libel law, “malice” had meant knowledge or gross recklessness rather than intent, since courts found it difficult to imagine that someone would knowingly disseminate false information without a bad intent.
Now when you are in the business of selling voting machines to taxpayer funded entities, you are the definition of a public figure. And there is always robust debate about voting systems.
People can and should be able to say anything they want about your company.
I’m guessing that relying on the concept of stare decisis, the legal principle of determining points in litigation according to precedent, a Supreme Court decision in this case will turn out exactly the same.
The practical answer is you may never again sell a voting machine. What taxpayer funded entity wants to buy something from a company which files billion dollar lawsuits? Additionally, you are opening yourself to Mike Lindell’s discovery under pain of perjury.
Now, full disclosure, Mr. Lindell’s company uses my radio network, USA Radio, to sell a lot of pillows, sheets, towels and dog beds. And we appreciate the revenue.
Further, I, personally, tend to agree that the 2020 election may have been the most fraudulent in many years. And I’ve been covering this stuff since I was 14 which was almost 55 years ago.
As I have said in this space before, the time to litigate bent national elections is NOT afterwards. It is before they occur. In 2020, that didn’t happen.
There’s one other reason that this lawsuit is monumentally stupid.
In order to recover, you also have to prove that you were damaged to the tune of $1.3-BILLION. According to Forbes Magazine, the privately held Dominion’s revenue from 2017 to 2019 was $120-million. While they have a dominant position amongst the three companies which provide these services, they look like they are asking for an awful lot given that their revenue appears to be not quite four percent of what they are asking. In short, if the company went out of business there are local convenience store chains that may be worth a lot more.
What this appears to be is an attempt to litigate My Pillow out of business.
That is a tactic which rarely works these days.
But the discovery Mike Lindell is now about to be privy to, could be—as a certain credit card commercial says—priceless. For him and 74,000,000 of us.
Go gettum, Big Guy!