Donald Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani faces a US$1.3 billion (AU$1.7 billion) lawsuit over his baseless claims of electoral fraud.
Dominion Voting Systems, which is the vote auditing company at the centre of Trump’s misinformation campaign, has taken its complaint to the courts, claiming Giuliani’s allegations that the 2020 US election was “stolen” led to serious financial and reputational damage.
“Dominion’s founder and employees have been harassed and received death threats, and Dominion has suffered unprecedented and irreparable harm,” the lawsuit states.
It claims Giuliani “manufactured and disseminated” the electoral fraud conspiracy theory and points to 50 statements from the former New York mayor as being defamatory.
Lawyers for Dominion said Giuliani exploited his electoral fraud claims to hawk cigars, gold coins and supplements on podcasts and on YouTube.
“He recommended that his viewers buy gold from ‘the company you can trust’ and told them to ‘give them a call and tell them Rudy sent you,'” the complaint reads.
“And, Giuliani advised, ‘if you call them right now, they’ll give you up to $1,500 of free silver on your first order.'”
Dominion accuses Giuliani of falsely claiming the voting system had switched thousands of votes from Trump to US President Joe Biden, in the “Big Lie”.
"Just as Giuliani and his allies intended, the Big Lie went viral on social media as people tweeted, retweeted, and raged that Dominion had stolen their votes. While some lies - little lies - flare up on social media and die with the next news cycle, the Big Lie was different.
“Dominion brings this action to set the record straight, to vindicate the company’s rights under civil law, to recover compensatory and punitive damages, and to stand up for itself, its employees, and the electoral process,” the 50-page complaint states.
Dominion noted that Giuliani continued to push the baseless claims of electoral fraud on 6 January, hours before Trump supporters attacked the Capitol Building.
It said it has had to spend US$565,000 on private security to protect employees who are now facing death threats and harassment.
The lawsuit comes as the US House of Representatives delivers its article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, kicking off the second impeachment trial for the former president.
The Senate is expected to begin the impeachment trial on 9 February.