Many who opposed President Trump or claims of massive, widespread voter fraud are laughing today. Many Trump supporters are feeling betrayed. These strong feelings stem from a statement in a motion filed by Sidney Powell’s attorneys asking the case made against her by Dominion Voting Systems be dropped. Yet in the same sentence, the true intent of the statement is clear. Nobody should be laughing and nobody should feel betrayed.
The statement that’s getting latched onto by people on social media states, “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact,” referencing Powell’s claims that Dominion Voting Systems was being run in part by the Venezuelan government and participated in stealing the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden by switching votes. In isolation, this statement seems to indicate Powell was essentially trying to fool everyone with her accusations. This isn’t the case.
The full context of her attorney’s statement reveals the truth [emphasis mine]:
Reasonable people understand that the “language of the political arena, like the language used in labor disputes … is often vituperative, abusive and inexact.” Watts v. United States, 394 U.S. 705, 708 (1969). It is likewise a “well recognized principle that political statements are inherently prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.” Planned Parenthood of Columbia/Willamette, Inc. v. Am. Coal. of Life Activists, 244 F.3d 1007, 1009 (9th Cir. 2001). Given the highly charged and political context of the statements, it is clear that Powell was describing the facts on which she based the lawsuits she filed in support of President Trump. Indeed, Plaintiffs themselves characterize the statements at issue as “wild accusations” and “outlandish claims.” Id. at ¶¶ 2, 60, 97, 111. They are repeatedly labelled “inherently improbable” and even “impossible.” Id. at ¶¶ 110, 111, 114, 116 and 185. Such characterizations of the allegedly defamatory statements further support Defendants’ position that reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts through the adversary process.
Furthermore, Sidney Powell disclosed the facts upon which her conclusions were based.
This is not backtracking. This is not an admission that she didn’t really believe her own accusations against Dominion Voting Systems, nor does it indicate she was lying to everyone about “The Kraken.” The buzz going around on social media from both sides are based on the isolated statements and context added by whoever is sharing it. But the truth is very clear. She is fighting a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit. It is incumbent on her attorneys to demonstrate defamation was neither intended nor did it occur based on Powell’s statements.
What the attorneys are trying to establish is that the circumstances surrounding her statements are protected as free speech because of three important factors. First, inflammatory and polarizing language are often used in political scenarios and reasonable people expect that to be the case. Second, her own lawsuits were based on facts that allowed for interpretation and reasonable people would understand that these were the opinions upon which she filed her suits. Third, and this is very important, she made her claims against Dominion Voting Systems based on facts that she disclosed in her lawsuit.
This is not in any way demonstrating that Powell is backtracking on her claims. Her attorneys are framing the situation in the best legal way possible for their client. The people who are taking the statements in the motion to dismiss out of context are either ignorant or being disingenuous in framing it as her reversing on her own opinions regarding the 2020 election and Dominion Voting Systems.
What makes this whole situation so sad is that the vast majority of people reading the out-of-context statements by Sidney Powell’s attorneys will never allow themselves to know the truth. They’re set on laughter or betrayal and refuse to reverse their stance.