Judge Rules Against the Makers of Election-Lie-Hyping Film ‘2,000 Mules’ — Allows Case to Proceed to Discovery

Today, a federal court in Georgia greenlit a lawsuit against Dinesh D’Souza, Salem Media, Regnery Publishing, True The Vote, and True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips (along with D’Souza Media) for peddling manufactured lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by “ballot mules” engaged in election fraud.

In a significant win for our client, voters, and democracy, the defamation and voter intimidation lawsuit filed against the makers and promoters of the disinformation film 2000 Mules and its accompanying book will proceed to discovery on its Ku Klux Klan Act and defamation and invasion of privacy claims.

Publicly, repeatedly, and without evidence, the defendants falsely accused Plaintiff Mark Andrews of being a so-called “ballot mule,” claiming he illegally cast ballots as part of a conspiracy to steal the 2020 election from then-President Donald Trump.

There was no factual basis to their claims; in fact, this lie had been repeatedly debunked and the complaint details how Defendants manufactured so-called “evidence” to fabricate their lies.

Rather, Mr. Andrews lawfully placed his own ballot and those of his family into a ballot drop box. To this day, defendants continue to spread the same false claims about Mr. Andrews, and market and profit from their film and book. Their lies have harmed Mr. Andrews’ reputation, and led to the predictable threats and intimidation against him and his family.

“Defendants continue to portray Mark Andrews, a proud Georgia voter, as a criminal for lawfully exercising his most sacred right as an American citizen: voting,” said Sara Chimene-Weiss, counsel at Protect Democracy. “Defendants’ lies about Mr. Andrews hurt Mr. Andrews, corrode public faith in our elections and undermine democracy. Justice demands accountability on behalf of Mr. Andrews, our elections, and our democracy.”

“We now look forward to proving in court that the defendants’ actions violate the Klan Act, passed by Congress in the wake of Reconstruction to prohibit the kind of intimidation that defendants remain engaged in, as well as Georgia law prohibiting defamation, false light, and appropriation of likeness,” said Von Dubose, of Dubose Miller. “Today’s win is a significant victory on the road to justice on behalf of Mr. Andrews.”

“As we allege in our complaint, the defendants here fabricated lies about our client out of whole cloth, for political and financial gain. They have continued to repeat and spread those lies even in the face of a formal investigation clearing Mr. Andrews of any misconduct,” said Lea Haber Kuck, counsel for Mr. Andrews.

Today’s ruling makes clear that the lies told about Mr. Andrews are actionable voter intimidation, defamation, false light, and appropriation of likeness. In short, the Honorable Judge Steven D. Grimberg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found that:

  • Mr. Andrews’ complaint states a claim that all of the Defendants violated Georgia law prohibiting defamation, false light invasion of privacy, and appropriation of likeness. 
  • Mr. Andrews’ complaint states a claim that Dinesh D’Souza, D’Souza Media, True the Vote and True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 (42 U.S.C. § 1985(3)).

The case will now proceed to discovery. Law for Truth, a project of Protect Democracy, represents Mr. Andrews in partnership with the law firm DuBose Miller LLC and other pro bono counsel. 

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