WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from a prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump who is trying to fend off a defamation suit from a voting company he falsely accused of rigging the 2020 election.
Michael Lindell, the founder of MyPillow and a regular presence at Trump’s rallies, is fighting a $1.3 billion defamation suit filed in federal court by US Dominion, the company that manufacturers voting machines used in several battleground states.
Lindell’s effort was denied by a Trump-appointed U.S. District judge last year. When Lindell appealed, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the case was not ready for review. Lindell asked the Supreme Court to rule that he could immediately appeal in order to avoid “long and expensive” court proceedings.
Preview: Supreme Court to grapple with race, elections in new term as battle over abortion lingers
Guide: A look at the key cases and questions pending before the nation’s high court
Lindell argues that US Dominion hasn’t met the standard governing defamation claims set out in the court’s landmark 1964 decision in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Specifically, he asserted that the company had not proved that he knew his comments were false or that they were spoken with a reckless disregard for truth or falsity.
The lower federal court disagreed.
“As a preliminary matter, a reasonable juror could conclude that the existence of a vast international conspiracy that is ignored by the government but proven by a spreadsheet on an internet blog is so inherently improbable that only a reckless man would believe it,” U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols wrote in his opinion.
The company, Nichols wrote, “has adequately alleged that Lindell made his claims knowing that they were false or with reckless disregard for the truth.”
The case is MyPillow v. US Dominion.
Internet: Supreme Court to hear challenge to law that shields internet companies from lawsuits
Guns: Supreme Court turns away challenge to Trump-era ban on bump stocks
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Supreme Court won’t hear case by MyPillow CEO over defamation suit