A Vilified Dominion Executive Sues Promoters of a Bizarre Tale at the Center of Trump’s Election Conspiracy Theory
After Donald Trump lost the presidential election, Joseph Oltmann, a conservative activist and podcaster in Colorado, began telling a story that he said helped explain that outcome. Sometime during the week of September 27, Oltmann claimed, he had “infiltrated an antifa conference call,” during which one participant asked, “What are we gonna do if fucking Trump wins?” According to Oltmann’s account, a man named Eric, identified by someone else on the call as “the Dominion guy,” replied: “Don’t worry about the election. Trump is not gonna win. I made fucking sure of that. Hahahaha.”
From that exchange, Oltmann said, he deduced that Eric Coomer, director of product strategy and security at Dominion Voting Systems, was involved in an elaborate criminal conspiracy to steal the election by rigging vote-counting machines. Thus was born a central element of a fantasy promoted by Trump and his diehard supporters across the country, including Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney, and Sidney Powell, a lawyer whom Jenna Ellis, the Trump campaign’s senior legal adviser, described as a member of the “elite strike force team…working on behalf of the president and the campaign.” And thus was born the defamation lawsuit that Coomer filed in Colorado yesterday against Oltmann, Giuliani, Powell, and the Trump campaign, along with two news outlets and several journalists who have credulously promoted Oltmann’s tale.
“To be clear,” the complaint says, “Dr. Coomer has no knowledge of an alleged ‘Antifa Conference Call’; Dr. Coomer did not participate in such an alleged call; Dr. Coomer did not make the comments Defendants falsely attribute to him; and Dr. Coomer did not take actions to subvert the presidential election as Defendants falsely allege.” According to the lawsuit, which Coomer filed in Denver County District Court, Oltmann’s description of him as a key figure in the anti-Trump plot that supposedly denied the president his rightful victory provoked a torrent of abuse and death threats.
Some of the social media posts about Coomer, such as a November 17 tweet by Eric Trump, have included his photograph as well as his name. Coomer “was forced to flee his home in response to the credible threats he has been receiving and continues to receive,” the complaint says. “He has had to sever ties with friends and family members in order to stay in seclusion.” The complaint presents examples of the accusations and threats, including several from Oltmann himself.
“Eric Coomer, you are a traitor,” Oltmann wrote on Parler earlier this month. “We are coming for you and your shitbag company. We are coming for Antifa and we are coming for your politician friends. Share this…share Eric’s name…If they certify the electors today after this audit, we have an obligation to forcibly remove them all. This is not a drill, our country is not their evil playground. God is at the wheel, but
we are the warriors that must do the work of men to repel evil. These people are evil, and they are liars, cheats and thieves out to take what they did not earn or deserve. Where will you stand?”
Oltmann made it clear he had in mind more than angry social media posts. “Now it’s time we fight,” he said. “And when I [say] fight I don’t mean yelling it’s not fair. I mean we fight these communist,
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