NOEL KING, HOST:
Sidney Powell, a former lawyer for the Trump campaign, told wild, untrue stories about Dominion Voting Systems, a company whose machines were used in the 2020 election. In a press conference in November, she said Dominion was founded in Venezuela to help rig elections for the deceased dictator, Hugo Chavez. The company was actually founded in Canada. It is laughable unless you work for Dominion. The company is now suing Sidney Powell for defamation and seeking more than $1.3 billion in damages. John Poulos is the president and CEO of Dominion Voting. John, thanks for being with us.
JOHN POULOS: Nice to be here.
KING: Dominion is unlikely to get $1.3 billion from Sidney Powell, a private citizen who, as far as we know, is not a billionaire. That suggests to me that there is something else you want from this lawsuit. What is the purpose?
POULOS: The question for us is that there has been irreparable damage done to our company. If we could trade our situation today and go back to our reputation of November 1 prior to the defamation campaign that Sidney Powell and others launched against our company, we would do so in a minute. This lawsuit is the first step to restore our good names. And we have over 300 families that have staked their livelihood and reputation on this company. Thousands more customers have also staked their reputation by choosing our technology and have been deploying it responsibly. So this lawsuit really represents our chance to fight all of these claims one by one in a proper process in a court of law.
KING: It sounds like you want this to go to trial. You don't want a settlement. What you would like to see is a chance to air your grievances and a chance to tell the truth about your company.
POULOS: One hundred percent correct. A settlement does not even begin to address the damage that has been done to our reputation.
KING: What has the damage meant for you financially? How badly has this hurt Dominion's bottom line?
POULOS: It's very difficult to tell other than it's very conclusive that the damage has been catastrophic for us financially. Our customers have been under extreme pressure already from legislators that are hearing from a good portion of the public who have had very raw emotions based on the outcome of the election. And those emotions have only been exacerbated by the falsities that have been lobbed against our company and indirectly and directly against our customers.
KING: John, who are your customers?
POULOS: Our customers are election officials. And at the end of the day, it's the election officials that are accountable for running elections in each of their respective jurisdictions. They deploy a variety of tools and technology to meet those goals. We are a purveyor of one specific part of that technology as it pertains to the creation and the tabulation of paper ballots.
KING: Have any election officials reached out to the company directly and said we can't use Dominion Voting Systems in future elections, we're not going to continue our contract with you?
POULOS: We have been addressed by several jurisdictions that we serve who have been under pressure by legislators saying exactly those sentiments.
KING: Why did you decide to only sue Sidney Powell? President Trump and some of his allies have also spoken badly about your company. Conservative news outlets have spoken badly about Dominion. Why just sue Sidney Powell?
POULOS: The claim that we filed last Friday is just the first step, and it's not going to be the only one. Our legal team is currently busy looking at all of the actors that have aided Sidney Powell in the defamation campaign against us and our customers.
KING: Including President Trump.
POULOS: What I will say is no one is off the table, and the legal team is looking at absolutely everybody.
KING: What effect has this had on your employees? You said 300 families rely on your company. I'm guessing that means about 300 people work for you. What has this meant for them?
POULOS: It's been especially difficult. On a daily basis, I get a dozen emails from employees telling and relating experiences that they are having with friends and family that don't know what to make of the allegations that Sidney Powell has been amplifying. We've had dozens of employees that continue on a daily basis receiving hate mail, voicemail, emails that feature a hanging noose, reminding them to sleep with one eye open. We've had employees' personal information, including their home addresses, published online and sent to them as threats, very direct threats. And in the most extreme case, we've had an employee that has gone into hiding because people are driving in front of his home and sending him death threats. And he still has not returned home.
KING: Oh, my goodness. It sounds like what you're saying is you have employees whose own family members now mistrust your company and are writing to them and saying, what do you know about this? Is that what you're seeing? Is this causing division in your employees' own families?
POULOS: That's exactly correct. People are looking at the torrent of lies being told about us and losing sight of the fact that we just help count paper ballots. And there has been many, many hand audits and recounts across our base of customers reaffirming the results. In the case of Georgia itself, roughly 5 million ballots were counted three times, each time reaffirming the same result. This has been detailed and re-detailed by election officials, by third party experts, and yet the lies continue.
KING: How is Dominion supporting its employees? I'm trying to imagine people getting threats, and my instant impulse would be provide them with security. But with 300 people, I imagine spread all over the country, that's not as easy as it sounds.
POULOS: It certainly is not. First and foremost, there's been a tremendous outpouring of support within the company of the employees supporting one another, offering any type of support that we can. We have also been supplementing that support with security, external security services to help our employees. And it's been very costly. A lot of these services have been costing hundreds of thousands of dollars per week.
KING: The person who launched this attack on your company, the person who is responsible for all of this, is a businessman himself, a president who described himself constantly as pro-business, and yet he has allowed his legal team to go after a business with overt lies. What do you think about President Trump at this point and the irony of that?
POULOS: One of the goals of our legal action is to really understand where the impetus behind these lies originated from, how they developed and how they were conspicuously amplified and broadcast through a variety of media platforms, ultimately to create unrest in a vast part of the population. It's had an untold effect financially and emotionally on the company and our employees. And getting to the bottom of that is a very important goal of our action.
KING: And ultimately, do you think your company can recover from this?
POULOS: Time will tell. It's going to be a big challenge.
KING: John Poulos, the president and CEO of Dominion Voting Systems. Thanks for being with us, John.
KING: Thank you very much.
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