By Devan Cole and Tierney Sneed, CNN
Allies of former President Donald Trump testified under oath that they had done little to verify debunked claims of fraud in the 2020 election before spreading them on the national stage, according to tapes of their depositions obtained exclusively by CNN.
The new footage of sworn testimony from Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell animates the behind-the-scenes movements of the two in their effort to sow doubt about the integrity of the presidential election results. The video details responses from the Trump allies as a lawyer representing former Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer in his defamation case against them peppers them with questions about their allegations.
Dominion has denied repeatedly that its vote-counting services allowed for fraud, and since the election, state and US authorities have repeatedly found no widespread fraud in the 2020 vote.
“We had a report that the heads of Dominion and Smartmatic, somewhere in the mid-tweens, you know 2013, 2014, whatever, went down to Venezuela for a get-to-know meeting with (President Nicolás) Maduro so they could demonstrate to Maduro the kind of vote fixing they did for (former President Hugo) Chavez,” Giuliani said during his deposition.
“You say the heads of Dominion and Smartmatic,” Coomer’s attorney begins, before Giuliani interjects.
“Yes, that’s what I was told. … Before the press conference I was told about it,” he said. “Sometimes I go and look myself — when stuff comes up. This time I didn’t have the time to do it.”
He continues: “It’s not my job, in a fast-moving case, to go out and investigate every piece of evidence that was given to me. Otherwise, you’re never going to write a story. You’ll never come to a conclusion.”
For her part, Powell admits in the deposition footage that getting to the truth was not one of her objectives.
“You had the ear of a number of conservative media outlets. Why did you not ask to provide a statement correcting the misstatements that you had reported?” Coomer’s attorney asks.
“That didn’t seem to be the material part of the inquiry,” Powell replied.
Coomer, the former security director at Colorado-based Dominion, late last year sued the Trump campaign and various conservative media that pointed to him — and especially anti-Trump posts he had made on social media — when making their vote-rigging claims.
The defendants in the case have filed a motion to dismiss, which is pending before the court.
Court records reviewed by CNN last month show that Giuliani spent less than an hour reviewing allegations that Coomer was part of a plot to rig the election before publicly making those claims at a November news conference.
And when Powell was deposed by Coomer’s lawyer, she acknowledged that she did not have “a lot of specific knowledge about what Mr. Coomer personally did” in the supposed scheme to steal the election.
In court filings submitted with the depositions in September, Coomer argued that Trump team figureheads and right-wing media including One America News Network continued to spread misinformation even knowing it might not be true. In addition to the accounts from Powell and Giuliani, the more than 2,000 pages of documents reviewed by CNN provided insight into how certain election-rigging claims traveled through conservative media with little attention to the credibility of the allegations.
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