Lindell must face Smartmatic defamation claims, federal judge in St. Paul rules

Mike Lindell
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell speaks to reporters outside federal court last year in Washington. A federal judge in St. Paul on Monday denied Lindell's motion to dismiss a suit by a voting machine company claiming Lindell defamed the firm by saying its machines were used to rig the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump.
Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP 2021

A federal judge in St. Paul is allowing a voting machine company to proceed with its defamation suit against Minnesota businessman and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Smartmatic sued Lindell and his Chaska, Minn.-based company in January, alleging that while hawking merchandise, Lindell falsely and repeatedly claimed that Smartmatic voting machines were used to rig the 2020 election against Donald Trump.

There is no evidence that voting machines made by any company were compromised during the election.

In its civil complaint, Smartmatic said Lindell “intentionally stoked the fires of xenophobia and party-divide for the noble purpose of selling his pillows.”

In its lawsuit, Smartmatic emphasized that its equipment was used only in Los Angeles County during the 2020 presidential election and alleged that as part of a “disinformation campaign,” Lindell falsely stated that Smartmatic machines were not only used widely that year, but also connected to the internet so the results could be manipulated.

The company said its machines are “air-gapped, self-contained, and never connected to the internet” and the equipment “does not allow votes to be changed, manipulated, or altered at all.”

In her order denying MyPillow and Lindell's motions to dismiss the suit, Judge Wilhelmina Wright said Smartmatic had alleged facts "sufficient to suggest that Lindell knew or should have known that his statements were false and [he] acted with actual malice.”

In court documents, MyPillow and Lindell argue that his statements are not defamatory because Lindell “believes they are true," and they “are not inherently improbable.”