Judge rules Mike Lindell must pay $5 million to election fraud dispute challenge winner

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A federal judge affirmed Wednesday that MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell’s company must pay a $5 million arbitration award to a software developer who disputed data that Lindell said supported claims of election interference in the 2020 election.

The Associated Press reported that Lindell said he plans to appeal the ruling. The AP noted that when asked if Lindell could afford the hefty sum, Lindell pointed out that the breach of contract was not against him personally but against one of his companies, Lindell Management LLC.

“Of course we’re going to appeal it. This guy doesn’t have a dime coming,” Lindell said, according to AP.

Lindell, a Trump supporter who had promoted false claims surrounding the 2020 election, launched a “Prove Mike Wrong Challenge” in August 2021 as part of his “Cyber Symposium.” During this challenge, he offered $5 million through Lindell Management to anyone who could prove “packet captures” and other data he collected were not valid.

Lindell had claimed that the data proved China interfered in the 2020 election. Software developer Robert Zeldman entered the contest by submitting a 15-page report that concluded that Lindell’s data did not include information related to the 2020 election. Zeldman then filed an arbitration when Lindell’s team said he did not win the contest.

Lindell was first ordered to pay the $5 million award to Zeldman by a panel of three arbitrators last April. The Wednesday ruling by U.S. District Judge John Tunheim noted that courts only have limited authority when it comes to arbitration disputes but ordered Lindell to pay the award with interest within 30 days of the order.

“The Court’s responsibility in reviewing an arbitration award is not to reevaluate the merits but rather ensure that the panel acted appropriately. Lindell LLC’s only basis for Court action was that the panel acted outside the scope of its authority in issuing the award,” the ruling stated.

“Even though the Court may have reached a different outcome given an independent initial review of the information, the Court fails to identify evidence that the panel exceeded its authority. Under the Court’s narrow review, it will confirm the arbitration award,” the ruling continued.

The Hill has reached out to Lindell’s legal team for further comment.

The Associated Press contributed.

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