A top employee of Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems, Eric Coomer, has sued the campaign of President Donald Trump, as well as a number of high-level campaign surrogates and pro-Trump media outlets, for defamation.
Coomer has been the subject of conspiracy theories on the right, with people accusing him of using his position to mastermind a high-tech plot to steal the 2020 election for President-elect Joe Biden.
Coomer’s suit, filed in the Denver district court Tuesday, accuses those responsible for spreading the falsehoods of intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.
“Today I have filed a lawsuit in Colorado in an effort to unwind as much of the damage as possible done to me, my family, my life, and my livelihood as a result of the numerous false public statements that I was somehow responsible for ‘rigging’ the 2020 presidential election,” said Coomer, who is Dominion’s director of product strategy and security, in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states the claims made about Coomer have led to death threats, constant harassment and “untold damage to his reputation as a national expert on voting systems.” Coomer was forced to leave his home one week after the presidential election ended and move to a safe undisclosed location where he remains.
“The widespread dissemination of false conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election has had devastating consequences both for me personally and for many of the thousands of American election workers and officials, both Republican and Democratic, who put aside their political beliefs to run free, fair, and transparent elections. Elections are not about politics; they are about accurately tabulating legally cast votes,” stated Coomer.
The lawsuit names: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Sidney Powell, Sidney Powell, P.C., Rudolph Giuliani, Joseph Oltmann, FEC United, Shuffling Madness Media, Inc. d/b/a Conservative Daily, Jim Hoft, TGP Communications LLC d/b/a The Gateway Pundit, Michelle Malkin, Eric Metaxas, Chanel Rion, Herring Networks, Inc. d/b/a One America News Network and Newsmax Media, Inc.
Dominion Voting Systems provides election equipment and software to 28 states, including the majority of the equipment used in the swing states on which Trump has focused most of his post-election ire. The company has also started to take legal action against its detractors; it recently demanded that Sidney Powell retract baseless claims about the company and its voting systems.
Coomer said the allegations against him began with a conservative Colorado activist and podcaster, Joe Oltmann, who is named in the suit.
Several days after the election Oltmann said that he’d infiltrated an earlier call with Denver-area “Antifa” members and heard a man identified as “Eric from Dominion” say he would make sure Trump wouldn’t win the election. According to Oltmann, the man said, “don't worry about the election. Trump is not going to win. I made effing sure of that.”
Oltmann has never provided a recording of that call, but the allegation spread rapidly through right-wing social media, making its way to pro-Trump media outlets that are now included in the lawsuit.
Coomer said that conversation never took place and he has no association with left-wing groups.
"I have a personal political opinion. I may share that with friends and family, but I have never participated, or belonged to, any political groups, political action groups, social justice groups. I do not donate to political campaigns. I don't donate to any PACS or anything like that,” he told CPR News.
Oltmann addressed Coomer’s defamation lawsuit on his podcast on Wednesday, suggesting he plans to counter-sue for slander.
"By putting this stuff out there, they're doing damage to me, right?," Oltmann said. "They think they're going to threaten me and somewhere along the line, I'm going to back down."
He went on to defended the allegations he's made against Coomer. “He said those things. I didn't say them. He did. And listen, I don't write stuff on my social media that, that frankly, that I wouldn't be able to defend. I don't.”
In addition to his own information, Coomer said the personal addresses of everyone from his parents and siblings to his ex-girlfriends have been posted online. Some have also received threatening letters.
He said he’s hopeful this lawsuit will help him reclaim his personal and professional reputation, “While I intend to do everything I can to recapture my prior lifestyle, I have few illusions in this regard.”
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with Oltmann's comments about the lawsuit.