MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has been ordered to pay $5 million to a software engineer who disproved the bedding magnate’s 2020 election conspiracy claims peddled during his ill-fated “Cyber Symposium.”
A private arbitration panel on Wednesday ruled that 63-year-old computer expert Robert Zeidman is entitled to the payout. He took up Mr. Lindell’s promise to pay $5 million to anyone at the August 2021 symposium who could disprove his election fraud claims.
Mr. Lindell claimed he had 37 terabytes worth of data proving that hackers, who he said were backed by China, broke into the election systems and switched votes in favor of President Biden. The proof, he said, is visible in intercepted network data or “packet captures” that were collected by hackers and could be unencrypted to reveal that a cyberattack occurred and that votes were switched.
He was so sure of his trove that he held a three-day summit in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he invited cyber experts to interrogate the data themselves and “Prove Mike Wrong.”
More than a year and a half later the American Arbitration Association ruled that Mr. Zeidman proved that Mr. Lindell’s data “unequivocally did not reflect November 2020 election data.” The arbiters told Mr. Lindell to pony up within 30 days.
“They clearly saw this as I did — that the data we were given at the symposium was not at all what Mr. Lindell said it was,” Mr. Zeidman told The Washington Post. “The truth is finally out there.”
Mr. Lindell said the panel’s decision was “terribly wrong” and that he would be taking the matter to court.
The 2021 symposium marked the culmination of months of Mr. Lindell’s highly publicized claims of election fraud. Those claims were widely discredited and cost him significantly financially and in terms of reputation.
For months, Mr. Lindell trumpeted his cyber evidence and predicted that the revelations at his symposium would prompt Mr. Biden to resign and restore former President Donald Trump to the White House.
But the event, which drew roughly 500 attendees and was live-streamed on Mr. Lindell’s website, concluded without producing any evidence supporting his election hack claims.
Mr. Lindell’s claims began to unravel on the symposium’s second day.
As first reported by The Washington Times, Josh Merritt, a cyber expert on the “red team” hired by Mr. Lindell to interrogate the data, admitted that the packet captures are unrecoverable in the data and that the data, as provided, cannot prove a cyber incursion by China.
“So our team said, we’re not going to say that this is legitimate if we don’t have confidence in the information,” he told The Times.
“We were handed a turd,” he said. “And I had to take that turd and turn it into a diamond. And that’s what I think we did.”
Cybersecurity expert J. Kirk Wiebe, a former senior National Security Agency analyst and whistleblower, also said that Mr. Lindell did not have the actual data sets.
Mr. Wiebe said the scrolling text was likely meant to resemble what the packet captures would look like in the data set but were not actual packet captures, which are vital to prove the claims.
Still, Mr. Lindell never conceded that he did not produce the key evidence backing his China-hacking claims.
Phil Waldron, the head of the “red team,” took to the stage on the final day of the gathering to warn that his team received credible information about a “poison pill” inserted into the data. He did not clarify what specific data the alleged poison pill is targeting and whether it is the specific data being analyzed by the experts in attendance.
Soon after the symposium, Mr. Zeidman, who says he voted twice for Mr. Trump, produced a 15-page report that showed the data provided to the attendees had nothing to do with the election.
He said the files were just random numbers, letters and a list of internet IP addresses.
He sent a letter to Mr. Lindell’s firm seeking the prize money six weeks after the symposium. Mr. Zeidman’s claim was rejected by Mr. Lindell, prompting him to request arbitration from the third party.
Wednesday’s ruling adds to Mr. Lindell’s growing list of financial woes resulting from his election conspiracy evangelism. He has said several retailers have pulled My Pillow products from their shelves since he began publicly challenging the election results.
One of the largest manufacturers of voting machines, Dominion Voting Systems, has sued Mr. Lindell and MyPillow for $1.3 billion in damages for defamation. The complaint claims Mr. Lindell damaged Dominion’s reputation through his claims of compromised election integrity.
Mr. Lindell filed a $1.6 billion countersuit citing the First Amendment and claiming that Dominion had infringed on his right to free speech.
Dominion this week got a $787 million settlement in its defamation lawsuit against Fox news for reports about its voting machines switching votes to Mr. Biden.
Source : https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/apr/20/mike-lindell-ordered-pay-5-million-robert-zeidman-/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&rand=1247