Trump allies disrupt 2020 election defamation case by leaking Dominion emails

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Dieu-Nalio Chery/Reuters

Stefanie Lambert listens during a court hearing in Detroit, Michigan, in October 2022.


A group of pro-Trump election deniers has disrupted one of Dominion Voting Systems’ massive defamation lawsuits by leaking the company’s internal emails to a sympathetic Michigan sheriff who is investigating alleged fraud in the 2020 election.

Controversy erupted when attorney Stefanie Lambert provided confidential Dominion documents to Barry County. Sheriff Giving Sheet, who has espoused conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and used his position to seek fraud. Since then, she has posted more than 2,000 internal Dominion documents on his social media account.

Lambert had access to Dominion files because he represents Overstock’s former CEO. Patrick Byrnewho is being sued for defamation by the voting company for his 2020 election lies. As part of the case, they have access to “discovery” from Dominion, whose lawyers said they have already turned over more than a million documents.

Michigan prosecutors accused Lambert last year in connection with an alleged conspiracy to seize voting machines as part of an effort to prove former President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud. There is an active arrest warrant in Michigan for Lambert after she reportedly failed to appear for recent proceedings in his criminal case.

Lambert attended a hearing Monday in Byrne’s defamation case in Washington, D.C., but was never seen leaving the courtroom, leaving other attorneys wondering if she had been detained.

The judge told Lambert to stay back while the hearing concluded. The other lawyers left the courtroom and two federal marshals entered and closed the doors. Lambert was never seen leaving the courtroom. Deputies declined to say whether they arrested her and she did not return messages seeking comment after the hearing.

The leaks, at least for now, have diverted attention from alleged defamation related to the 2020 election. More hearings will be needed to address the matter and for the judge to consider the potential consequences for Lambert. Dominion lawyers also said in documents that company employees are already receiving new death threats in the wake of the revelations.

During Monday’s sometimes testy hearing, Judge Moxila Upadhyaya peppered Lambert with pointed questions about Dominion’s disputed materials. The judge ordered that Lambert’s access to the database containing the Dominion documents be restricted.

“I will deal with the why later, but for now I need to preserve the status quo,” Upadhyaya said, adding that “we need to prevent any future spread.”

The judge said there would be a future hearing to determine whether Lambert violated a court order by leaking Dominion files, and that Byrne would have to appear and answer questions. Dominion wants Lambert removed from the case and suggested in court Monday that he may have committed a crime by releasing the files to Leaf.

Lambert, Leaf and Byrne have claimed in court filings and public statements that the documents they released contain evidence that Serbian nationals interfered in the 2020 election at Dominion’s request.

“As has been public for years, Dominion has a small staff presence in Serbia, but any allegation that Dominion employees attempted to interfere with any election is flatly false,” a Dominion spokesperson told CNN after the hearing.

During the hearing, Lambert admitted that he gave the materials to Leaf, although he said he was allowed to do so because he was reporting a crime to “law enforcement agencies.” She also called on Congress to investigate her claim that “foreign nationals” interfered in the 2020 election, which the U.S. intelligence community said was the most secure in history.

“I turned the documents over to the authorities,” Lambert told the judge.

Dominion criticized Lambert and Byrne in court papers before the hearing, saying their claims of Serbian meddling in the US election were “xenophobic” and noting that Lambert was almost sanctioned for his role in a frivolous and conspiracy-laden election lawsuit.

“It’s been almost four years, when will it end?” Dominion attorney Davida Brook said in court Monday, where she accused Lambert and Byrne of “using these lawsuits to spread even more lies.”

Dominion is suing several other pro-Trump figures who peddled similar lies about the 2020 election, including former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell and right-wing cable networks Newsmax and One America News. Domain settled a defamation lawsuit against Fox News last year for $787 million in the largest publicly known defamation settlement in U.S. history.

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