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Christian Influencers Face Defamation Charges

Eric Metaxas, Dinesh D'Souza among those facing lawsuits

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On Friday, a jury ordered Rudy Giuliani to pay $148 million for defaming two Georgia election workers he repeatedly and falsely claimed had engaged in election fraud to help Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump.

The decision comes eight months after Fox News paid $787 million to settle a defamation lawsuit about election falsehoods brought by Dominion Voting Systems.

Meanwhile, defamation cases against Christian influencers who used their platforms to undermine the 2020 election results continue to work their way through the courts. Here’s an update on these ongoing cases.

Eric Coomer lawsuits

Eric Coomer, an executive with Dominion, has sued a number of Christian influencers who claimed he helped rig the election for President Joe Biden.

Among those being sued are Eric Metaxas, who slammed Coomer in his radio show on Salem Media, and Sidney Powell, a Christian attorney working with Trump who aired false claims about Coomer on Fox News.

On his radio show, Metaxas compared Coomer to the Unabomber, and said, “These are people working on the side of evil. Let’s cut to the chase. This is satanic evil. “

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Metaxas testified in a deposition that he does not verify the claims guests make on his show. “I don’t see that as my job,” he testified.

Coomer has also sued:

  • Salem Media of Colorado and Randy Corporon, who hosts a conservative radio show;
  • Independent writer Michelle Malkin, who has since retired;
  • One America News Network and its Christian correspondent Chanel Rion;
  • Conservative outlet Newsmax;
  • Clay Clark and both his Thrivetime Show podcast and traveling ReAwaken America Tour;
  • Mike Lindell, the Christian layman who founded MyPillow and has since become a crusading election fraud conspiracist;
  • Attorney Rudy Giuliani.

So far, One America News Network, Chanel Rion and Newsmax have settled their Coomer cases. The cases against the others continue.

Attorney Steve Skarnulis of Cain & Skarnulis said the Salem case was filed later than the others and is in discovery. The other defendants unsuccessfully sought to dismiss all charges, citing Colorado’s Anti-SLAPP law (which protects free speech).

“Defendants moved to dismiss the case,” said Skarnulis. “Motions were denied. Now they’re appealing.”

Clay Clark and other defendants have raised funds for their defense on givesendgo.com, a Christian crowdfunding site. Clark has raised $145,000 of the $1 million he is seeking.

Dominion lawsuits

Fox settled its case, but Dominion’s cases continue against Christian attorney Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell, My Pillow, and FrankSpeech.com, Lindell’s website.

Charges against Lindell, a Christian layman who has engaged in elaborate efforts to prove election fraud, were laid out in an extensive suit that contained 357 paragraphs of evidence. Lindell claimed Smartmatic’s technology was designed to steal elections, including the 2020 election, that it had a corrupt relationship with Dominion, and that its machines were hacked by China, among other claims.

Lindell’s antics have lost his company valuable retail outlets. He now claims he is broke and his lawyers say he owes them millions of dollars. “I have lost everything I’ve had so far, you got it?” said Lindell in a 2023 deposition.

You can find updates on Dominion suits here.

Smartmatic lawsuits

Like Coomer and Dominion, Smartmatic is also suing Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell.

Fox News’s $787 million settlement in its Dominion defamation case may spell trouble for Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion case against the conservative outlet. Evidence gathered in that case, including testimony by Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch in a deposition, made clear that Fox executives didn’t believe the election lies they were feeding viewers.

You can find updates on Smartmatic suits here.

Suit against Dinesh D’Souza’s claims in “2000 Mules” film

Dinesh D’Souza, the former president of the New York City Christian school The King’s College, has emerged as a leading conspiracist supporting Donald Trump’s false election claims.

D’Souza is now facing a defamation lawsuit for claims he made in his Salem Media-financed film, “2000 Mules,” which claims that some 2,000 people harvested 400,000 fake ballots to steal the boxes with fake ballots.

The film has aired on Christian TV networks, was shown in hundreds of churches, and was promoted by Metaxas, Andrew Wommack, Charisma magazine, MovieGuide, and Mike Huckabee, the honorary national chairman of My Faith Votes. It has generated more than $10 million in revenue.

The film identified a Black man named Mark Andrews as one of the “mules.” D’Souza used footage of Andrews during an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s former show on Fox News and used a photo of Andrews in a companion book published by Salem-owned Regnery Publishing. The photo caption said Andrews was engaged in “organized crime.”

Andrews claims he was merely dropping off ballots from his family members and has sued D’Souza, the organization True the Vote, which provided the film’s flawed research, and the organization’s executives, Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips.

D’Souza’s latest film is “Police State,” which claims the Left has weaponized the U.S. legal system against Trump. The film is being promoted by Metaxas and others on Salem’s radio programs, MovieGuide, the Christian Broadcasting Network and The Epoch Time. It has also been shown at churches.

Main photo: Eric Metaxas sings in the ”Biden Did You Know?” parody video. Video screengrab

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Steve Rabey

Steve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He and his wife Lois live in Colorado.