Sidney Powell uses 'Tucker Carlson defense' in Dominion's $1.3B suit, says election fraud claims were 'opinion'

Powell's lawyers argue that 'reasonable people would not accept such statements as facts' sparking a Twitter backlash


                            Sidney Powell uses 'Tucker Carlson defense' in Dominion's $1.3B suit, says election fraud claims were 'opinion'
Lawyer Sidney Powell has come under fire for employing a strategy known as the 'Tucker Carlson defense' (Getty Images)

Sidney Powell has asked for the lawsuit filed by Dominion to be dismissed, using a strategy that many are calling the "Tucker Carlson defense". After her response made its way to the Internet, Powell became the subject of ridicule, with many mocking her defense strategy. Powell's reply was filed in the District of Columbia District Court, where she was sued for $1.3 billion by Dominion Voting Systems.

In her filing, Powell's lawyers argued that "reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts." The 90-page defense also argues that the case be moved to Texas, where Powell is registered to practice law.

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Dominion filed the suit in January after Powell argued that they were part of an international communist plot to rig the election and help Joe Biden win. The company has also sued Rudy Guiliani, Trump's lawyer for $1.3 billion and Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow. Moreover, the company threatened litigation against Fox News and OANN, as the right-wing media outlets made similar claims.

Rudy Giuliani points to a map as he speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election on November 19, 2020, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

 

The Tucker Carlson defense

Powell's strategy is being called the "Tucker Carlson defense" since it echoes a similar line to that of the Fox News host. Carlson is famous for making controversial statements and using phrases like "just asking", "could it be true" and other similar phrases. That way, his statements appear more as claims and questions than facts, which has allowed him to avoid being sued. 

Powell is now using a similar line of defense to avoid the case going to trial. She is basically asking the court to view her statements as claims and that the audience was responsible for understanding them as facts.

Her lawyers wrote, "those members of the public who were interested in the controversy were free to, and did, review that evidence and reached their own conclusions." Ever since Trump lost the election, Powell, Guiliani and other conservative personalities have reportedly made multiple baseless claims that the election was fraudulently stolen. 

Dominion's lawsuit describes 40 occasions where she made false and defamatory statements against the company, resulting in death threats against employees. It has also argued that its reputation has been harmed as a result of the series of "baseless claims" made by Powell and others. “Lies were told about government election officials, elections workers and Dominion Voting Systems. Those lies have consequences,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement.

“Today is the first step to restore our good name and faith in elections by holding those responsible to account. We intend to pursue justice vigorously to its rightful end,” he added.

Tucker Carlson speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 21, 2018, in Los Angeles, California (Getty Images)

'Court rules Republicans aren't reasonable'

Naturally, the defense strategy was mocked mercilessly by the Internet, with many trolling her choice of words. Interestingly, she was also mocked by conservatives like Joe Walsh, who tweeted, "Sidney Powell’s defense: 'Everything I said about Dominion was bullshit. If you believed anything I said, you’re an idiot. It’s your fault, not mine'."



 

Another user tweeted, "In deploying The Tucker Carlson defense, Sidney Powell is admitting that her credibility is completely nonexistent." Another said, "Sidney Powell's defense: 'Only stupid people believe me.' While accurate, it's no defense for clear defamation."



 

 



 

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon tweeted, "A new low. Sidney Powell is basically saying that she was lying - AND that people who believed her lies were unreasonable. That would be news to those, including some officeholders, who continue to believe her (and others’) disinformation about the 2020 election."

Comedian Steve Hofstetter tweeted, "BREAKING: Sidney Powell's argument against Dominion's defamation lawsuit: 'no reasonable person would conclude' those 'were truly statements of fact.' So either the suit marches on, or it gets tossed out because a court rules that republicans aren't reasonable people."



 

 



 

"Sidney Powell asks a judge to declare — as a matter of law — Donald J Trump a really stupid person." one user said. Another tweeted, "Sidney Powell basically called the 'former guy's' supporters stupid. The irony is they're too stupid to realize it..."



 

 



 

Other users are calling for Powell's bar license to be revoked, but no action has been taken on that front yet. Powell's defense, if accepted, could become the template for others like Guiliani and Lindell to use, allowing them to escape the consequences of reportedly lying about the election.

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