Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statutes are typically reserved for use by the feds against organized crime groups like the Mafia and drug cartels. But a group of Michigan citizens are suing Dominion Voting Systems in Colorado by alleging that Dominion is acting like the Mafia. The company has sent nasty cease and desist letters to hundreds of Trump supporters to try to intimidate them into shutting up about what they saw happen during the 2020 election.
The lawsuit accusing Dominion of organized crime was filed back in September, but this is the first time many of us are hearing about it.
The named plaintiffs in the case all say that they have received these threatening cease and desist letters from Dominion. They’ve identified at least 150 people in Michigan – none of whom are public figures or elected officials – who have been threatened with lawsuits by Dominion for speaking out about irregularities that they witnessed during the November 3rd election last year. Most of the people being threatened were just citizens who volunteered to be poll watchers in Michigan.
The lawsuit reads, “Generally, Plaintiffs are everyday Americans. They are fathers, mothers, daughters, and sons. They are the neighbor you say good morning to on your way to work. They are Americans trying to participate in a public debate about election integrity and security. Plaintiffs have been intimidated from participating in the debate, however, because of Dominion.”
Dominion sent letters to 150 Michigan residents to demand that they stop “defaming” the company. The letters also tell the plaintiffs to preserve all communications that they have had with the Trump campaign or with Trump’s legal team, including Rudy Giuliani. The people receiving the letters all signed sworn affidavits last year, attesting to things that they personally witnessed during the 2020 election.
One poll watcher who signed a sworn affidavit never even mention the Dominion machines in her complaint. The election cheating that she witnesses had nothing to do with the machines. But Dominion sent her a cease and desist letter anyway. Dominion has been threatening these people with lawsuits in order to chill their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Imagine getting one of those letters from Dominion Voting Systems, which is a shadowy multi-billion-dollar company. Dominion is telling these people that it will crush them if they don’t shut up. If that doesn’t sound like a Mafia tactic, I’m not sure what would qualify.
The lawsuit also directly accuses Dominion of violating the free speech rights of the volunteers, while operating as a government actor. Dominion provides voting machines and equipment to dozens of states, and therefore, the plaintiffs argue, is acting on behalf of the government by telling them to shut up about election fraud.
It seems like a sound case. The plaintiffs are also being represented by one of the most esteemed First Amendment lawyers in the country: Alan Dershowitz. No matter what you might think of Dershowitz personally, there’s no other attorney in the country who is more well-versed on First Amendment speech cases.
The lawsuit explains that the people receiving these nasty letters from Dominion are “dozens of average Americans — not public figures — who volunteered as poll watchers and challengers and signed sworn statements about election irregularities they personally witnessed.”
The judge in the case is a George W. Bush appointee named Phillip Brimmer. Unfortunately, Judge Brimmer looks like he is trying to weasel his way out of hearing the case. He issued an order on Monday asking the plaintiffs why he should not dismiss the case based on a jurisdiction issue. He says that the plaintiffs have not established that their fixed residence (domicile is the legal term) is different from that of Dominion. This is one of the legal requirements under a RICO case. He’s giving the plaintiffs a week to establish that, otherwise he will throw out the case.
This seems like a slam dunk, however, because the plaintiffs are all Michigan residents and Dominion is headquartered in Colorado. We’ll see what happens with that.
Here’s a question that hasn’t been answered so far. If Dominion is going out of its way to harass and intimidate 150 people in Michigan, is it doing the same thing in Pennsylvania and other states where Giuliani’s team gathered affidavits? That seems likely. Things could get interesting if dozens of additional poll watchers from across the country were to join this lawsuit.