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Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell is defending her comments about Smartmatic while trying to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election and is asking the courts  to dismiss the $2.5 billion defamation suit the election-technology company has filed against her.

“Smartmatic’s desperate attempt to suggest I was a part of a civil conspiracy to harm the company is not only false but also still does not allow me to be sued in New York,” Powell said Thursday in a statement. “Smartmatic fails to even remotely allege any way that I was a part of a conspiracy. And for the record, I was not.”

Smartmatic alleging Powell defamed the company in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election by claiming its software was hacked and compromised and further alleging that the company was under the corrupt control of dictators from socialist countries.

After saying such statements about several election technology companies, former President Donald Trump distanced himself from Powell.

“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity,” Giuliani and another lawyer for Trump, Jenna Ellis, said in a statement in November, according to the Associated Press.

Smartmatic is also suing former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and Fox News and several of the cable TV network’s hosts for statements they made in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

“Without any true villain, defendants invented one. Defendants decided to make Smartmatic the villain in their story,” Smartmatic’s says in at least on of the suits, according to NBC News.

Powell, in a recent motion, to dismiss the case, argued that she could not be sued in New York, where Smartmatic filed the suit against her, because he did not have sufficient contacts with the state.

She also argued that her appearances on Fox News do not give the state jurisdiction over her.

Powell also says her comments cannot be considered defamatory because the information she shared about the Smartmatic voting machines is “backed by sworn affidavits, expert reports, and other corroborating evidence.”

She also argues the First Amendment protects her statements about Smartmatic because they are “political speech and were made in connection with active litigation.”

“I stand by my statements about Smartmatic today,” Powell said.” I believe every allegation I have made about Smartmatic and the vulnerability of these machines is true. This case is meritless and should be thrown out entirely.”

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Court & Law

Court filing: Prosecutors knew government erased evidence in convicted fundraiser’s case

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Attorneys for Imaad Shah Zuberi in a motion for release pending appeal said that while the idea that Zuberi engaged in obstruction of justice was tied to the notion that he had deleted emails which might have been relevant to a government probe, the prosecution had been “aware from the defense” that a government agency deleted communications from devices that Zuberi owned or utilized.

The filing also states that the agency instructed Zuberi to delete other emails, while cognizant of the fact that he was facing a criminal investigation.

“Here, the government’s position on obstruction of justice, and consequent lack of acceptance of responsibility, rested heavily on the argument that Zuberi deleted emails that were potentially relevant to the government’s investigation, and that he did so specifically intending to obstruct that investigation,” the filing states. “But in September 2020, the prosecution became aware from the defense that during meetings with the defendant, an agency of the United States deleted electronic communications potentially relevant to the government’s investigation from devices owned or used by Zuberi. That same agency directed Zuberi to delete other emails, knowing that Zuberi was under criminal investigation. These actions and directions from the U.S. government led to deletion of emails that were potentially relevant to the investigation and helpful to the defendant.”

“Both the government’s inducement of Zuberi’s plea with an illusory promise and its persistence in arguing Zuberi obstructed justice by deleting emails even after conceding he did so at the government’s direction support withdrawal of Zuberi’s plea,” the filing states.

The Justice Department in February announced that Zuberi had been sentenced to serve 12 years in federal prison. But Zuberi is seeking to appeal his conviction on a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

“In November 2019, Zuberi pleaded guilty to a three-count information charging him with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by making false statements on a FARA filing, tax evasion, and making illegal campaign contributions. In June 2020, Zuberi pleaded guilty in a separate case to one count of obstruction of justice,” the DOJ noted.

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U.S. Court of Appeals hears case on topless sunbathing on Maryland’s Ocean City beach

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Afederal appeals court opened a case this week on an Ocean City, Maryland, emergency ordinance passed in 2017 that  prohibited women from going topless on beaches while men were still allowed to go shirtless in the same areas.

Five town residents then posed a legal challenge to the ban, arguing it was unconstitutional.

A civil suit filed in a U.S. District Court in 2018 was dismissed in April 2020 when the court ruled that city officials have a better understanding of the public’s moral “sensibilities” than residents and visitors.

U.S. v. Biocic of 1989, in which the court found no right to public nudity, was a similar case that was used as a precedent for the court ruling. 

After the lower court’s dismissal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit opened the case this week for review and oral arguments. 

“This lawsuit is about confirming the legal right of women to be bare-chested in public in the same places that men are permitted to be bare-chested, for purposes other than breastfeeding,” plaintiff attorney Devon Jacob said in opening arguments. “This lawsuit seeks a declaration from the court that Ocean City’s ordinance violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the federal Constitution.”

Jacob argued that protecting the public’s moral sensibilities “permits a sexist ideology to be cloaked in legitimacy in the same way that nationalism legitimizes racism.”

He also told the court it’s time for the Biocic case from three decades ago to be overturned, according to the Maryland Coast Dispatch.

Ocean City’s attorney, Bruce F. Bright, said the ordinance is “not a regulation of sexual choices or behavior.”

“This is a regulation of public nudity and whether it should still be defined as exposure of the female breast,” he also said.

The judge who upheld the ban last year said that it is the government’s objective to protect the public from displays of areas traditionally considered erogenous zones, citing female but not male breasts.

Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory expressed skepticism during the Wednesday hearing about the town’s rationale for the ban  and extent of public concerns over topless sunbathing.

He also asked how many calls town officials received complaining about the possibility of women baring their chests and pointed out the ordinance was passed after an inquiry to police about what would happen if women “expressed their freedom in this manner on the beach,” The Washington Post reported.

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Giuliani says FBI agents declined to take Hunter Biden’s hard drives

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani during an interview on Thursday said that FBI agents who searched his home this week declined to take Hunter Biden’s hard drives.

Giuliani said that seven FBI agents showed up early Wednesday morning with a warrant for electronics. He said when he asked them if they wanted to take Hunter Biden’s hard drives, they declined.

“Hunter Biden’s hard drives fall within the scope of the subpoena. The subpoena required them to take all electronics, but they decided to leave that behind. And they also were completely content to rely on my word that these were Hunter Biden’s hard drives,” the former mayor told conservative commentator Tucker Carlson during an interview on the Fox News Channel.

Giuliani described the warrant as “completely illegal,” saying that the only way authorities can obtain a search warrant is if they can demonstrate that the individual will destroy or abscond with the evidence.

“Well I’ve had it for two years and I haven’t destroyed it. And they also got it from the iCloud,” he said, adding that the warrant was unjustified, unlawful and unconstitutional.

Giuliani said that he has “never, ever represented a foreign national.”

“The search warrant is purportedly based on one single failure to file for representing a Ukrainian national or official that I never represented,” he said. Giuliani stated that he “never represented a Ukrainian national or official before the United States government. I’ve declined it several times. I’ve had contracts in countries like Ukraine. In the contract is a clause that says I will not engage in lobbying or foreign representation. I don’t do it because I felt it would be too compromising,” he said.

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