The Colorado Court of Appeals has affirmed Denver District Court Judge Marie Moses’ denial of anti-SLAPP motions filed by defendants in the defamation case brought Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer.

Coomer’s defamation suit against defendants Joe Oltmann, along with his entities FEC United and Shuffling Madness Media, ultra-conservative former pundit Michelle Malkin, James “Jim” Hoft of The Gateway Pundit, podcaster Eric Metaxas, Sidney Powell and her organization Defending the Republic, Donald Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, and the Trump Campaign will proceed to trial.

“A division of the court of appeals concludes that the plaintiff has established a reasonable likelihood of success on his claims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of statements by various defendants that the plaintiff (1) asserted on a conference call in September 2020 that he had ‘made sure’ then-President Trump was not going to win the 2020 presidential election and (2) took steps to interfere with the election results,” read the summary of the Court of Appeals’ opinion.

The statements in question originated with Oltmann, a Douglas County podcast host and gun store owner. On episodes of his podcast and in media appearances with Malkin and Metaxas, Oltmann claimed that he had infiltrated an “antifa conference call” prior to the 2020 election and heard “Eric from Dominion” claim to have rigged the 2020 election. In Moses’ initial ruling on the anti-Slapp motions in May 2022, she noted, “This Court found that [Oltmann’s] testimony was ‘evasive and not credible,’ and concluded that, for purposes of the Colorado Reporter’s Privilege, C.R.S. § 13-90-119, Oltmann’s ‘statements regarding that conference call are probably false.’”

The Court of Appeals summary weighed the defamatory nature of Oltmann’s claims. “Some defendants — for example, the Powell Defendants and the Oltmann Defendants — connected these dots explicitly by paraphrasing Coomer’s alleged quote accordingly,” the Court of Appeals noted. “Others left the meaning of Coomer’s reported statement implicit. Either way, there is a reasonable likelihood that a jury could conclude that, even if Coomer did not follow through on his supposed guarantee, the claim that he had made such a statement was itself defamatory.”

Claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent, from Oltmann and other right-wing media figures, were quickly addressed by a November 12, 2020 joint statement from the executive committees of the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council released by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which noted, “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

The Court of Appeals considered how a jury might interpret Oltmann’s election conspiracy claims in light of the CISA report., “Although Oltmann’s initial statements came before the CISA statement was issued, he continued making his accusations for several weeks thereafter,” read the summary. “It is possible that a jury could find that Oltmann was undeterred by the CISA statement because he genuinely disbelieved it, or perhaps because he was unaware of it. But it is also reasonably likely that a jury could find that, as to Oltmann’s post- November 12 statements, the CISA statement made Oltmann aware of the probable falsity of his claims, yet he persisted in making those claims nonetheless.”

Oltmann’s claims are also central to additional defamation lawsuits filed by Coomer against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Salem Media and Denver radio personality and Republican Nation Committeeman Randy Corporon, former CEO Patrick Byrne, and Oklahoma-based election conspiracy activist Clay Clark. In addition to the lawsuits brought by Coomer, Dominion has filed its own lawsuits against Lindell, Giuliani, Powell, and Byrne. In April, Fox News settled its lawsuit with Dominion for $787 million. One American News Network and Chanel Rion, also initially defendants in the Oltmann suit, settled with Coomer in September 2023.