1/29 - Libel in today's era
This week on Monday the 25th, former Trump lawyer and ex-mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani is being sued by the Dominion voting system in the US DC District Court for $1.3 billion. Giuliani is not the only one being sued by the voting company; the Dominion voting is also suing Trump campaign lawyer Sydney Powell. The Dominion voting is suing both Giuliani and Powell because of unverified statements that both of them made regarding the Dominion voting. Both Giuliani and Powell asserted that Hugo Chavez owned dominion voting (even though he is dead), Castro (dead too), George Soros (a Jewish billionaire and a boogeyman for the right), and the Clintons who somehow worked together to steal the election for Joe Biden." It is evident that misinformation spreads quickly in the age of social media, where unverified information becomes "true." Who is Dominion voting and why Giuliani (Trump campaign) went after them after Trump lost and not before?
As I repeated before, Dominion voting is a voting system in charge of distributing voting machines in the US and Canada. The dominion voting system is used in 28 states, including Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. Those six states, excluding Virginia, are those same states that the Trump campaign are suing over "voter fraud," but those cases were tossed out like a garbage bag (pun intended). It is not just in Swing states that they use Dominion but also some red states that Trump won, like Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Utah, Ohio, Iowa, and Kansas. If the dominion voting tried to "steal" the election for Biden, wouldn't those red states have gone for Biden too? In my opinion, The Trump campaign team are opportunists because he is only suing those states that he lost but not the ones that he won using the Dominion voting. The Trump campaign could have sued those states before the election but they chose not to do it then only when they lost. However, it is not what the journal is all about; the point of the journal is whether or not Dominion Voting can sue the Trump lawyers for defamation.
Analysis of this case:
It will be an interesting case to see what arguments that the plaintiff (Dominion voting) and the defendant (Giuliani and Powell) would use in this case. It is expected that the Dominion voting would argue that both Giuliani and Powell knew that their statements were false, using the actual malice test that was used in the NYT v. Sullivan. The NYT vs. Sullivan case was a case in 1964, where it ruled the protections of freedom of speech restrict the government to sue newspapers for defamation unless they were made with the intent to lie. However, Giuliani and Powell could argue that the malice standard only applies to public officials and not private entities like Dominion (Thank you, Professor Veribisky). I still believe that Dominion should be a public figure because they provide election service, and corporations are treated as public figures. As I stated before, it will be interesting to see how those two parties will argue in this case of potential libel.
Written by Brandon Blanco, Political Chair. The views expressed in the journal are their own and not the view of The La Raza Pre Law.