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Former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell filed an error-strewn lawsuit this week. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.
Unraveling viral disinformation and explaining where it came from, the harm it’s causing, and what we should do about it.
A baseless conspiracy theory that a voting firm is involved in a global plot to rig elections has led to stalking, harassment, and death threats against its employees, the company at the center of the conspiracy said Thursday.
The conspiracy, included in a lawsuit filed by former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell on Wednesday, and boosted by QAnon and President Donald Trump himself, claims that Dominion Voting Systems is part of an attempt to fix the US election result, and that state officials, Iran, China, and even the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, are somehow also involved.
On Wednesday, Powell regurgitated the very baseless allegations in an error-strewn 104-page document that saw the word “district” spelled incorrectly twice — in two different ways — in the first eight words.
On Thursday, Dominion, which was founded in Toronto and is now based in the U.S., hit back, outlining the real danger Powell’s lawsuit is doing.
“Sidney Powell’s wild and reckless allegations are not only demonstrably false, they have led to stalking, harassment, and death threats to Dominion employees,” a statement posted to Dominion’s website on Thursday read. “This criminal activity has been duly reported to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, and we intend to hold Ms. Powell, and those aiding and abetting her fraudulent actions, accountable for any harm that may occur as a result.
Powell alleges some grand scheme where Dominion machines in Georgia were manipulated to elevate the votes for President-elect Joe Biden — who won the state by over 12,000 votes.
“This is not possible — not on a machine-by-machine basis, not by alleged hacking, not by manipulating software, and not by imagined ways of ‘sending’ votes to overseas locations,” Dominion said, adding that “even if it were possible, it would have been discovered in the statewide hand count of votes.”
The statement went on to debunk a number of the wild allegations made by Powell in her lawsuit, summing them up as ”baseless, senseless, physically impossible, and unsupported by any evidence whatsoever.”
Despite government election officials declaring this month’s vote the “most secure election in American history,” Trump and his allies, including Powell have continued to push conspiracy theories without any evidence.
Once again on Thursday, Trump pushed baseless claims to his tens of millions of followers on Twitter, claiming — without evidence — that ”the 2020 Election was RIGGED, and that I WON!”
As the physical threats experienced by Dominion employees attest, pushing baseless conspiracies about widespread election fraud has real-world impacts.
Earlier this month, Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he had been the target of multiple death threats as a result of the Dominion conspiracy theory, while Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said she was experiencing “ongoing and escalating threats of violence directed at her family and her office.”
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