Conspiracy theorist and election denier MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has come to Nevada in his desperate search for a plausible defense in a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit filed earlier this year in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC by a former employee of Dominion Voting Systems.
You shouldn’t be surprised.
Not only is the Silver State’s Republican Party nuttier than a jar of Planter’s cashews, but Nevada is also a familiar setting for a chief alchemist of Donald Trump’s Big Lie fool’s gold, slippery software guru Dennis Montgomery.
Lindell’s lawyers are attempting to intervene in a long-churning litigation in U.S. District Court between Montgomery and Reno-based software company eTreppid Technologies (first reported by The Nevada Independent) in hopes of obtaining information that will help the defense of the Dominion defamation case. In order to do that, he’ll have to persuade a judge to lift a protective order that cloaks certain evidence from public view in the eTreppid case. The protective order has been in place since Aug. 29, 2007.
Lindell claims the data he used to bolster his claims that Dominion machines were “hacked to manipulate the results of the election” came from Montgomery. Lindell has also been sued for defamation by voting machine company Smartmatic, and in May he saw his own lawsuit against the company dismissed as frivolous.
But being frivolous has never stopped a Trump true believer, and it certainly hasn’t deterred Lindell. In an Aug. 20 filing in the eTreppid case, Lindell “sought to use “testimony and evidence concerning Montgomery’s background and his work for U.S. intelligence agencies, and the information from Montgomery itself, to defend the reasonability and veracity of his allegedly defamatory statements in the D.C. litigation.
“The information that Lindell in part relied upon, the Data, comprises internet transmissions sent during the 2020 election that were collected by technology Montgomery developed and previously licensed to the US government,” the filing states.
In addition to all espousing the standard Big Lie fairy tales about millions of dead Americans voting for Joe Biden in 2020, Lindell has called his sweeping victory the “biggest cybercrime in the world.” That’s not considered defamation. That’s just a lie.
So is the grand conspiracy Lindell has woven about how 12 countries conspired to rob his hero of a second term by breaking into election office voting systems to reduce the number of Trump voters. How do you say “complete horse manure” in a dozen languages?
Lindell rose to creepy celebrity hugging his “Made in America” pillows on television. His attempt to parlay that fame into political prominence has lost not only its corny cache, but millions in company profits as repulsed retailers have increasingly rejected his product.
Now he’s on his way to losing many more millions in court cases after spreading malignant theories free of facts that not only have hurt the credibility of Dominion Voting Systems, but the public’s faith in the American voting process.
Lindell seems hellbent on self-righteous self-destruction. Lindell can’t stop shadowboxing with election conspiracies, and in August 2021 held a South Dakota “cyber symposium” gathering that attracted a Star Wars saloon full of like-minded oddballs, including Nevada Republican Secretary of State candidate and certified election denier, Jim Marchant.
In promoting his particular brand of crazy, Lindell uttered one of my favorite moments in a CNN interview around the time of the South Dakota cyber circus.
“I’m not wrong,” he said. “I’ve spent millions. You need to trust me and come here.”
Now Lindell, through his lawyers, has come to Nevada with a plea to lift the protective order in the eTreppid litigation because he relied on Montgomery’s, ahem, expertise in as a cyber expert and believed he had proof that “voting machine manufacturers and their employees were hacked several times” and had worked in “illegal US government surveillance programs.”
It’s all pretty mysterious stuff. If only Montgomery possessed a lick of credibility. His scandalous history as a self-styled high-tech expert is a rich and malodorous one. But his role in whipping up conspiracy hysteria about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election puts him in a class by himself. The man who once conned the CIA and other federal agencies out of $20 million with phony claims he’d developed software capable of decoding al Qaeda terrorist plots secretly transmitted during Al Jazeera network broadcasts, outdid himself in Trump’s great snipe hunt.
Right-wing media trumpeted Montgomery’s claim that he’d “invented” the super-secret “Hammer” and “Scorecard” software programs that had been purloined by the Obama administration in an effort to rig the election. Montgomery’s misinformation helped fire up the base in cross-eyed articles in such publications as The American Report, which proclaimed, “Biden Using SCORECARD and THE HAMMER to Steal Another U.S. Presidential Election.”
After reinventing himself as an “aggrieved whistleblower,” as The Daily Beast put it, Montgomery sued President Barack Obama, former FBI Director James Comey, and other officials with a claim that he had possessed 47 hard drives full of evidence linking the government to an illegal surveillance program.
This is the Montgomery who once accused Nevada Congressman and future Gov. Jim Gibbons of bribery in association with the eTreppid scandal. After an investigation and a lot of public controversy, Gibbons was cleared of wrongdoing.
This is the same cyber expert who ran up $1.8 million in gambling debts at Strip casinos. Apparently, he was still working on that blackjack system software.
After his cyber scamming was exposed, Montgomery still managed to hook Arizona Sheriff and far-right crimefighter Joe Arpaio’s department for $124,000 from the informant fund.
But a personal favorite Montgomery moment was the cyber scam that hooked the CIA and other federal watchdogs for lucrative contracts. After The New York Times exposed the fakery, Montgomery’s former attorney Michael Flynn called his ex-client “a conman,” and noted, “The government knew this technology was bogus, but these guys paid millions for it.”
All of this was easily available to Lindell, of course, but he wasn’t looking for it. He promoted the QAnon-inspired voter fraud conspiracy as it morphed from one shadowy villain to the next.
I’m not sure what dark secrets are tucked away under that protective order, but it’s hard to imagine anything that will help refute his claims that Dominion’s former director of product strategy and security Eric Coomer was a traitor to the country and committed treason, as the lawsuit against Lindell alleges.
Coomer has endured death threats that have put himself, his family, friends and work colleagues at risk, according to the lawsuit. And the danger is real and ongoing:
“This conduct is so outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency. It should be regarded as atrocious and determined intolerable in a civilized community.”
It should. Let’s see if it does.
John L. Smith is an author and longtime columnist. He was born in Henderson and his family’s Nevada roots go back to 1881. His stories have appeared in Time, Readers Digest, The Daily Beast, Reuters, Ruralite and Desert Companion, among others. He also offers weekly commentary on Nevada Public Radio station KNPR.