Voting machine company sues pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell over 'wild accusations'

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By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) - A voting machine company sued former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell on Friday, accusing her of spreading false conspiracy theories about November's election that Republican President Donald Trump lost to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.

Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems Inc filed the case in federal court in Washington, alleging defamation and seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

Powell, a conservative activist and former federal prosecutor, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Trump campaign also did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

In news conferences and media appearances, Powell falsely claimed that Dominion had rigged the U.S. presidential election, that Dominion was created in Venezuela to rig elections for that country's late president, Hugo Chavez, and that Dominion bribed Georgia officials for a no-bid contract.

"Powell’s wild accusations are demonstrably false," Dominion's lawyers said in the complaint. "Far from being created in Venezuela to rig elections for a now-deceased Venezuelan dictator, Dominion was founded in Toronto for the purpose of creating a fully auditable paper-based vote system that would empower people with disabilities to vote independently on verifiable paper ballots."

Powell, appearing with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, claimed without evidence at a November news conference that Dominion's electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to Biden.

Trump had referred to Powell as one of his "wonderful lawyers and representatives" in a Nov. 14 tweet.

Giuliani and another Trump legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, later distanced themselves from Powell, saying in a statement released by the campaign that "Powell is practicing law on her own" and "is not a member of the Trump Legal Team."

But Trump then met with Powell at the White House on Dec. 18 and discussed naming her a special counsel to investigate the election, the New York Times reported.

Eric Coomer, director of product strategy and security for the voting technology company, sued Powell, the Trump campaign, and others for defamation in a Colorado court last month.

Coomer said Powell's claims led to “devastating consequences,” including death threats which forced him to leave his home out of fear for his safety.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Jonathan Oatis)