Is Sidney Powell insane?

PDF of Eric Coomer lawsuit.

Powell is going to have some trouble with footnote 89…

See Maria Bartiromo, Mornings with Maria, FOX, Nov. 20, 2020 (Powell falsely stating “We’ve got Eric Coomer admitting on tape that he rigged the election for Biden and hated Trump . . . We have pictures of him in other countries helping people rig elections. So he’s got a long history of accomplishing the result that they want accomplished, and I’m sure that it’s for money.”).

Wow. That certainly sounds like a claim of fact.

Agreed, but I would say “how it will be spun”

One could make an argument that Dominion was, as a corporation, a public figure prior to this election. I’d heard of them. Ironically, I’d heard of them because they were popularly accused of being in the pockets of the Republicans. People were worried that GOP states were using Dominion machines to swing elections to them. You can find mention of them in many 2016 articles on election fraud. I even read a few people claim the company must be run by Christian fundamentalists because they said “Dominion” refers to “dominionism.” (It doesn’t. It refers to Canada.)

I don’t think it’s a strong argument, but I guess you can make it. The Trumpists increased the public awareness of Dominion about twenty times over and it seems to me you can’t use the “public figure” defense if it was your libel that made a company a public figure.

But you sure as shit cannot say Eric Coomer was a public figure. Coomer was not in any way a public figure.

Yikes, I didn’t know about the Coomer story. That podcaster in Colorado should be prosecuted.

But I’m sure a reasonable person would take it as a statement of opinion that she had Eric Coomer making statements on tape about rigging the election.

Or something.

“It is my sincere belief and deeply held faith that those tapes must exist!”

Now here’s an interesting question: Does this actually fall under the category of “events in the political arena”?

The election was already over, every vote had been cast. While you might argue that “My Opponent is a jerk! Don’t vote for him!” should be protected speech during the election campaign, should it still be okay to say that after the election is over, and the excuse of trying to influence the voters is no longer applicable?

Her claims weren’t made in the context of a political campaign; that campaign had already ended in failure. No matter how many voters she might have been able to sway, their votes had already been cast. No, these claims were made in the context of a lawsuit, and the only people whose opinions matter would be the judges hearing the cases, and they wouldn’t be swayed by such nonsense. So what was the purpose of making these claims, then, other than to sully the reputation of the people involved?

I was thinking something similar. If all that’s required to force a person or company into being a public figure is the trash-talker saying their name over and over in public, then anyone and everyone could be made a public figure simply by defaming them in public and everyone would need to meet the actual malice standard. I hope the system isn’t that easy to abuse…

I can see the courts not wanting to police political speech when it comes to ones opponent, that would drag the courts down into a political morass from which they would never be able to extract themselves. Political campaigns would sue their opponents over every attack ad. The judges would be placed in the position of political fact checkers, and accused of being partisan no matter which way they decided. The courts need to stand back and let the two sides duke it out in the public arena.

But that shouldn’t mean that campaigns should be given free rein to destroy the reputations of innocent bystanders who happen to be caught in the middle. Dominion wasn’t involved in this fight but were dragged in against their will and had their reputations savaged by the Trump campaign. They should have legal recourse.

By the way, are all of these law suits by Dominion against various right wingers, legally tied together in some way or are they a bunch of individual cases? Also is one judge hearing all of them or could it be that one judge accepts a certain defense’s argument, while a different one rejects that same argument from a different defendant.

I have this image of her fellow shyster trying something along the lines of “She never said Eric Coomer rigged elections, she said she had photos of him rigging elections and a tape of him admitting he rigged the 2020 election. No reasonable person would infer the former from the latter, therefore the lawsuit is groundless.”

Where does a “reckless disregard for the truth” figure in?

Even if you want to be super-protective of this speech (I which I get and agree with) surely Powell showed a reckless disregard for the truth. If she didn’t meet that standard then what could it possibly be?

IANAL but it seems to me even if you “truly believe” something you can still show a reckless disregard for the truth. I don’t see how mens rea would figure in. Is willful ignorance a legal defense?

Is there a statute of limitations on contempt of court?

There are basically two types of contempt. The first, “With all due respect, Fuck your honor” is dealt with in the courtroom and expires when the judge either shrugs it off or decides that the offending party is repentant. The offense does not persist outside the venue.

The second type is defiance of a court order or failure to respond to a subpoena. In those cases, the offense is ongoing, so there is no margin in which a statute of limitations accrue. An offense being committed as of right now has no interval of neglect.

How has she shown contempt of court?

Filing frivolous lawsuits, yes. Perjury, maybe. Do either of those count as contempt? Or is there something else?

I just thought it was a little contemptuous to waste a court’s time with bullshit that she is now saying no one in their right mind would believe.

I doubt that would rise to being the level of a contempt although in most jurisdictions that I’m aware of it would likely be a breach of professional rules.

Technically what she and her lawyer are saying is that what she said would have been taken as “statements of opinion” rather than “statements of fact” by “reasonable people”. The fact that this is bullshit that no one in their right mind would believe is apparently not relevant.

I mean, she said she had physical taped evidence. That’s not really an “opinion” statement - either you have the tapes or you don’t.