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MyPillow founder Mike Lindell is ordered to pay $5M in election fraud challenge

MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell talks to reporters at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.
Jae C. Hong
/
AP
MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell talks to reporters at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — An arbitration panel has ordered MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell to pay $5 million to a software engineer for breach of contract in a dispute over data that Lindell claims proves that China interfered in the U.S. 2020 elections and tipped the outcome to Joe Biden.

But Lindell told The Associated Press on Thursday that he has no intention of paying and that he expects the dispute to land in court.

Lindell, a prominent promoter of false claims that voting machines were manipulated to steal the 2020 presidential election, launched his "Prove Mike Wrong Challenge," as part of the "Cyber Symposium" he staged in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in August 2021, to further his theories. Lindell offered through one of his companies a $5 million reward for anyone who could prove that "packet captures" and other data he released there were not valid data "from the November 2020 election."

Robert Zeidman entered the challenge with a 15-page report that concluded the data from Lindell did not "contain packet data of any kind and do not contain any information related to the November 2020 election." A panel of contest judges that included a Lindell attorney declined to declare Zeidman a winner. So Zeidman filed for arbitration under the contest rules.

After conducting an evidentiary hearing in Minneapolis in January, the three arbitrators on Wednesday ordered Lindell to pay Zeidman $5 million.

"He proved the data Lindell LLC provided, and represented reflected information from the November 2020 election, unequivocally did not reflect November 2020 election data," the arbitrators wrote. "Failure to pay Mr. Zeidman the $5 million prize was a breach of the contract, entitling him to recover."

The arbitrators ordered Lindell to pay up within 30 days.

"They clearly saw this as I did — that the data we were given at the symposium was not at all what Mr. Lindell said it was," Zeidman said in a statement Thursday. 'The truth is finally out there."

Zeidman attorney Brian Glasser said the arbitrators' ruling marked "another important moment in the ongoing proof that the 2020 election was legal and valid," and that Lindell's claims about the validity of his data had been "definitively disproved."

Lindell disputed that and said he intends to release additional data in the coming weeks or months that will prove his claims of Chinese interference in the 2020 elections and validate what he put out earlier.

"It's going to end up in court," Lindell said. "I'm not going to pay anything. ... He didn't prove anything."

Lindell is already the subject of a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems in the District of Columbia that says Lindell falsely accused the company of rigging the 2020 presidential election. He's also the target of a separate defamation lawsuit in Minnesota by a different voting machine company, Smartmatic.

Lindell said it's strange that the arbitrators ruled a day after Dominion settled its defamation lawsuit against Fox News for nearly $800 million. and suggested it's all an effort to get him to end his crusade against electronic voting machines.

"I'll spend everything I have to save the country I love," Lindell said.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: April 20, 2023 at 11:00 PM CDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that the "Cyber Symposium" was staged in South Falls, South Dakota. It was staged in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The Associated Press