Dominion Voting Systems Employee Sues Trump Supporters for Defamation
Texas lawyer Steve Skarnulis says his client is in hiding after death threats
Super Lawyers online-exclusive
By Beth Taylor on March 25, 2021
Eric Coomer says his life has never been the same since Trump supporters accused the Dominion Voting Systems security director of rigging the 2020 presidential election, prompting death threats that drove him into hiding.
He has filed a defamation suit, which is being handled by business litigator Steve Skarnulis at Cain & Skarnulis in Austin, Texas. Defendants include the Trump campaign, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, columnist Michelle Malkin, conservative activist Joseph Oltmann, and rightwing media outlets Newsmax and One America News Network.
In separate cases, Dominion and Smartmatic have also filed defamation suits against Trump supporters over accusations against the voting-technology systems of election conspiracy.
“This is personal,” Skarnulis says of Coomer’s suit, filed in January in Denver district court. Skarnulis notes that his client is still in hiding. “Dr. Coomer is a private individual whose life has been upended. His career in election security is over, and he may be tracked and harassed by fringe groups for years to come.”
The suit accuses the defendants of claiming that Coomer was in the center of a nationwide conspiracy to fraudulently elected Joe Biden as president. “… as the vote count proceeded and it became apparent that President Trump was likely to lose the election, the former President, his campaign, his agents, and many of his supporters began alleging widespread voter fraud and perpetuating baseless conspiracies about why President Trump lost,” the suit says.
Conservative activist Joseph Oltmann claimed to have heard an Antifa conference call saying that “Eric from Dominion” would make certain that Biden won, according to the suit, which goes on to say that Coomer had no knowledge of such a call, and that Oltmann provided no evidence of such a call nor an explanation for how he accessed it.
“As intended, Defendants’ fabrication quickly spread throughout various media sources,” the suit says. “Defendants branded Dr. Coomer a traitor to the United States, a terrorist, and a criminal of the highest order.”
Skarnulis notes that Coomer’s suit is not the first defamation suit again media defendants. “But it is the first of the suits arising out of the totally false allegations that the presidential election in the disputed states was rigged. Significantly, there were no allegations of election fraud down-ballot or in states that were not close.”
He anticipates that defendants will move to dismiss under the anti-SLAPP law, but believes Coomer’s case will hold up.
“The standards we have to prove are exacting, as they should be to protect a free press,” Skarnulis says. “But Dr. Coomer’s case clears every legal threshold.”
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