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Judge orders Lindell to pay $5 million to California cyber expert; Lindell says he’ll appeal

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Judge orders Lindell to pay $5 million to California cyber expert; Lindell says he’ll appeal

Feb 21, 2024 | 3:35 pm ET
By Deena Winter
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Judge orders Lindell to pay $5 million to California cyber expert; Lindell says he’ll appeal
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Mike Lindell at his 2021 "cyber symposium" in South Dakota, where he vowed to prove the 2020 election was hacked. Photo courtesy of Bob Zeidman

A federal judge has ruled that MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell must make good on the $5 million challenge he made to anyone who could disprove his claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim affirmed a 2023 arbitration panel’s decision to award California cyber forensics expert Bob Zeidman $5 million. Tunheim ordered Lindell’s company, Lindell Management LLC, to pay the money within 30 days, plus interest dating back to April 19.

Lindell told the Reformer he will appeal the ruling, calling it a “sham.”

Judge orders Lindell to pay $5 million to California cyber expert; Lindell says he’ll appeal
Bob Zeidman

Zeidman was one of many people who took Lindell up on his challenge, flying to a 2021 “cyber symposium” in South Dakota, where Lindell vowed to unveil proof that China interfered in the election. Zeidman has programmed computers for about 50 years, created the field of software forensics and founded several successful Silicon Valley firms.

Zeidman deduced that the data Lindell gave contestants had been transformed from a Word document full of gibberish. He said Lindell got the data from known con artist Dennis Montgomery, who Zeidman said created a program that would take a tiny spreadsheet and turn it into a 23-gigabyte file of nonsense.

“It was a special program that he created to basically fill in garbage, but you could undo it,” Zeidman told the Reformer in December.

When Lindell didn’t pay up, Zeidman took him to court. Zeidman flew to Minneapolis for a Jan. 3 hearing on the case.

Lindell was represented in the case by two lawyers whose ties to him have been at times tumultuous: Alec Beck, a Minneapolis lawyer who was a partner at Barnes & Thornburg but left the firm one day after suing Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic for Lindell in 2021. His law firm told Bloomberg Law that Beck wasn’t authorized to file the suit. 

Lindell was also represented by Andrew Parker, a partner at Minneapolis-based law firm Parker Daniels Kibort, who filed a motion in October asking to drop Lindell as client in multiple election-related defamation suits, saying Lindell owed his firm millions in legal fees.

The $5 million plus interest is a paltry amount compared to what Lindell could be facing in other litigation from Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, which are suing him for billions for defamation, citing false statements about the companies rigging the 2020 election.