Trump loyalists like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell did not do the barest bit of research on the conspiracy theories they pushed in trying to overturn the 2020 elections, filings in a court case show. CNN saw more than 2,000 pages of documents in a defamation suit brought against Giuliani, Powell, the Trump campaign, and other conservatives by former Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer.
Among the gems in the documents: Before Giuliani stood up in the notorious trickling hair dye press conference in November 2020 and called Coomer “a vicious, vicious man” who “is completely warped. And he specifically says that they’re going to fix this election,” Giuliani estimates he spent less than an hour looking into the allegations against Coomer. In fact, to come up with a total time he spent on research, “you would have to take like three minutes here, two minutes here, five minutes here, two minutes here and then what does that equal,” Giuliani said in a deposition.
What did Coomer supposedly do to steal the election from Donald Trump? “Exactly what role he played, I had no idea,” Giuliani said. “It's a big company, lots of people do different things. Was it his job just to announce it? Was it his job to carry it? I had no idea, nor was I particularly interested at that point.” But really, what did Coomer do? Giuliani “could guess but it would not be an educated guess,” he said.
Similarly, “I don't have a lot of specific knowledge about what Mr. Coomer personally did,” Powell said. “That would be the purpose of discovery in any proceeding that we filed, and we never got discovery in any proceeding that we filed.” (They did not get discovery because they kept getting thrown out of court for having not a leg to stand on.)
Here’s what Coomer did, according to a long New York Times profile: He was a Dominion executive who had posted a couple of anti-Trump things on Facebook, where he had just 300 or so friends and his privacy settings were locked down. Screenshots of those posts were sent to far-right podcaster Joe Oltmann, who claimed to have previously “infiltrated what he said was an antifa phone call and overheard someone—someone he claimed had been identified as Eric at Dominion—assure his supposed fellow antifa members that Trump would lose. ‘He responds—and I’m paraphrasing this, right?—“Don’t worry about the election, Trump is not going to win. I made effing sure of that,”’ Oltmann said.”
Coomer’s real Facebook posts were packaged with the fake phone call and from there, Trumpists sifted through every available detail of Coomer’s life to turn him into the archvillain of their imaginary stolen election. Besieged by death threats, he moved repeatedly and armed himself heavily. Newsmax, previously included in the lawsuit, has retracted its claims about Coomer and Dominion, apologized, and agreed to a settlement. But that doesn’t get Coomer back his job or his safety, which were compromised based on less than an hour of research and not even an educated guess by Rudy Giuliani.