Three prominent allies of former US president Donald Trump – Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell – have lost a bid to dismiss multibillion-dollar lawsuits saying their false claims about the 2020 presidential election defamed the Dominion voting equipment company.
US District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington, DC, said in a written decision that lawsuits brought against the trio by Dominion Voting Systems should move forward.
The company had said it was defamed because Mr Trump and his supporters spread false claims that it rigged the election against him.
Judge Nichols held that the First Amendment, which protects the right to free speech, offers “no blanket immunity” to Ms Powell and Mr Lindell in the lawsuits.
Ms Powell is a lawyer who later left the Trump campaign. Mr Lindell is a conspiracy theorist who founded a pillow and bedding company.
The judge also rejected an argument by Mr Giuliani, a former US prosecutor and mayor of New York, that Dominion had not fully explained its request for money damages.
A Dominion spokesperson said on Wednesday (local time): “We are pleased to see this process moving forward to hold (the defendants) accountable.”
Howard Kleinhendler, a lawyer for Ms Powell, said they were disappointed with the decision. Lawyers for Mr Giuliani and Mr Lindell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Dominion has sought $US1.3 billion in damages from the three, who supported Mr Trump’s false claims that US President Joe Biden could not have won the election in which the company’s voting machines were used.
Dominion has filed multiple lawsuits against Trump allies and conservative television networks, and has not ruled out suing Mr Trump.
On Tuesday, Dominion filed defamation lawsuits against conservative media networks One America News Network and Newsmax Media for amplifying Mr Trump’s election fraud claims.
It is seeking $US1.6 billion in damages from each network.