Home Criminal Defense Mike Lindell Loses Arbitration Dispute, $5 Million, Mind – Above the Law

Mike Lindell Loses Arbitration Dispute, $5 Million, Mind – Above the Law


(Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Yesterday was a rough one for Mike Lindell, who was ordered by an arbitration panel to pay $5 million dollars to a software developer who entered a contest to disprove the pillow fluffer’s election fraud claims.

Lindell, who once promised to bankroll a “class action against all the machines,” has been a major funder of litigation challenging the 2020 election, pushing conspiracy theories about Chinese hacking and insisting that it affected every vote machine in the country. In 2021, he claimed to have collected evidence of internet traffic that would prove his allegations, and he offered $5 million to anyone who could refute him in a “Prove Mike Wrong Challenge.”

The competition was held in August of 2021 at a “cyber symposium” staged by Lindell in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He invited members of the press and tech experts to view his supposed evidence of election fraud, promising to reveal packet capture data that showed China hacking voting machines in real time “like a movie.” The MyPillow CEO never claimed to understand the technology himself, but he did spend weeks shouting “PCAPS!” over and over and daring someone to prove him wrong.

“The symposium was to get the big audience and have all the media there and then they – the cyber guys – saying yes this data is from the 2020 election and you better look at how they intruded into our machines, our computers, and that was the whole purpose,” Lindell testified in a deposition reported by CNN, adding that, “I thought, well what if I put up a $5 million challenge out there, then it would get news, which it did. So, then you got some attention.”

And it did indeed get attention — although not perhaps in the way Lindell intended. His main expert, a Kraken alum named Joshua Merritt, who was rather less than billed when he was introduced by Sidney Powell as a secret source codenamed “Spider,” was ostracized as a Judas for pointing out that the proffered data was not as promised. In the end, Lindell’s supposed evidence did not induce the Supreme Court to reinstate Donald Trump as president “9-0.”

But he did get takers on the contest, including software developer Robert Zeidman, whose attempt to claim the prize was rejected by the panel of judges. The panel included two of Lindell’s cyber guys and Kurt Olsen, a MAGA lawyer who put his name on various post election challenges, tried to persuade the Justice Department to sign onto those insane filings, and recently got sanctioned along with Alan Dershowitz for filing a frivolous election challenge on behalf of Kari Lake.

Zeidman filed for arbitration, claiming that the data set he was given contained no packet captures at all, and thus could not be said to contain data regarding the November 2020 election.

The entire exercise appears to have been cursed from its inception:

Dr. Frank was not a member of the Red Team, but as previously mentioned, was a cyber expert relied on by Mr. Lindell and served as a Contest judge. He explained how the data was generally prepared for the Contest participants. First, he said, there was too much data to provide it all to participants. So, they were given a “slice” of the data. Second, he testified that he believed they needed to be sure to avoid providing sensitive private information, which could include passwords and sign-ins. That could be illegal. Third, he said that they put a “simple cipher” in place for at least one file to “separate the men from the boys.” That is, to have participants demonstrate their “sleuthing” skills. Participants would have to find the cypher and de-cypher the data, thus demonstrating their skill. Fourth, some data was presented in encrypted form that apparently could be opened only using cExtractor, a software tool designed for that purpose. A video excerpt of someone using cExtractor was provided to participants, without explanation.

Lindell was represented in the arbitration by Andrew Parker, Olsen’s fellow Kari Lake litigation sanctionee. After Dominion Voting Systems sued Lindell in DC, Parker filed suit against the company on Lindell’s behalf in Minnesota claiming that the DC claim was part of RICO action to stifle his client’s free speech. That went … about as well as you’d expect. And this arbitration proved to be similarly successful.

According to the arbitrator’s decision and award, Olsen “wrote the Contest rules with input from cyber experts” and was “included in the Contest panel to provide a legal perspective.” Those rules required the contest winner to prove that the data provided to contestants “unequivocally does NOT reflect information related to the November 2020 election,” and “is not reflective of November 2020 election data.”

Zeidman successfully decoded the eleven data sets provided. Some contained lists of IP addresses in China, some contained spreadsheets which appeared to have been doctored, and some contained gibberish. None contained the promised packet captures which would effectively time stamp them as being related to the 2020 election, and so the arbitrators awarded him the $5 million.

But, like the 2020 election, the “Prove Mike Wrong Contest” will never be over.

“They made a terribly wrong decision!” Lindell vowed to the Washington Post. “This will be going to court!”

New RICO suit dropping in 3…2…

Mike Lindell’s firm told to pay $5 million in ‘Prove Mike Wrong’ election-fraud challenge [WaPo]

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.


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