The Daily Beast
Dominion Builds Legal Behemoth to Drain Trumpland of Billions
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyWith billions of dollars in lawsuits now in the balance, Dominion Voting Systems has quietly expanded its legal armada in recent days, as the election technology company goes after Trumpworld and conservative media giants.Clare Locke—the legal firm spearheading Dominion’s lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and pillow magnate Mike Lindell—recently brought in seven attorneys from the Texas-based firm of Susman Godfrey, which has experience litigating against the so-called “Kraken” suits filed by one-time Trump attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell.“There are great synergies between the work that the Susman team had done on the 2020 election and the defamation cases we were pursuing for Dominion,” Tom Clare, from the notoriously aggressive law firm Clare Locke, told The Daily Beast.“As those discussions unfolded we also discovered the two firms have a great cultural similarity in having a ready for trial approach to litigation,” he added. “I think it’s going to be a very effective team.”Dominion expanding its legal team is the latest effort to punish leading players in the months-long propaganda push to trash the company and baselessly assail the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential contest.On Friday, Fox News was hit with a $1.6 billion lawsuit. “Fox News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court,” a statement from the company said.Other conservative media outlets including Newsmax and One American News Network—also aired post election conspiracy theories and are among the top targets for Dominion’s next round of lawsuits, according to two people familiar with the matter.Justin Nelson—a Susman attorney who is assisting in Dominion’s defamation cases against Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell, and Fox News—represented Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobb against a “Kraken” suit filed by Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, and other attorneys against Arizona election officials in an attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state.That suit, which asked a judge to “set aside the results of the 2020 General Election,” included many of the false claims which Dominion says amounted to defamation, including the allegation that Dominion uses software from a separate voting technology company, Smartmatic, and that Dominion was “founded by foreign oligarchs and dictators to ensure computerized ballot-stuffing and vote manipulation” to install help Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez steal an election in the country.At the time, Nelson called the suit an “attack on democracy,” and argued that Wood, Powell, and others were “using the federal court system in an attempt to undermine the rule of law and obtain breathtaking, startling and unprecedented relief to overturn the will of the people.”Susman attorneys also have experience in litigating a number of high profile defamation cases. Davida Brook—who signed on to the case against Powell, Giuliani, and Lindell—previously represented Melanie Kohler, a Los Angeles woman who accused director Brett Ratner of rape in a since-deleted Facebook post. Brook represented Kohler after Ratner filed a defamation suit against her. Ratner subsequently withdrew his suit.Brook also represented actress Amber Heard, who was sued by ex-husband Johnny Depp after she wrote a Washington Post op-ed which Depp claimed had falsely implied he had “perpetrated domestic violence against her.”Some of the targets or potential targets of Dominion’s legal wrath have run for cover, or even resorted to deleting articles or covering their tracks. Others have remained reliably defiant, claiming that a court battle and the discovery that comes with it would lead to humiliation for Dominion instead.Lindell—who was also a major financial backer of pro-Trump attempts to nullify President Biden’s decisive 2020 victory—previously told The Daily Beast that he’d hired private investigators to dig up “dirt” and any evidence of foreign entanglements on both Dominion and Smartmatic, and that he was hoping to file countersuits in the coming weeks.People familiar with the matter say that the company’s legal team still hadn’t ruled out going after ex-President Trump specifically, but that no final decision had been made yet on if they wanted to open up that can of worms on the former leader of the free world. During his time in office, Trump personally promoted the same kinds of conspiracy theories and lies that the voting-tech executives and their attorneys now claim substantially and groundlessly damaged their business and has put them in danger via numerous death threats.Former President Trump is still facing an avalanche of separate lawsuits, probes, and criminal investigations, including ones stemming from alleged sexual assault, his family-run business empire, the bloody Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and his broader anti-democratic efforts in the wake of the 2020 election.In recent months, Trump—who now no longer enjoys the legal protections that come with being president—has privately quipped that his enemies will be investigating and “suing me for the rest of my life.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.