The 2020 election results are still hotly contested nearly four years later, with the newest general election season looming. Many individuals who pushed the “Big Lie” that was claimed by Donald Trump – that there was massive election fraud in the 2020 election and that Joe Biden only won the presidency by cheating – are finding out the consequences of pushing dubious claims publicly without any evidence to back them up.

Significant Consequences for Mike Lindell

Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and a staunch supporter of Donald Trump and the big lie, is one individual who has faced significant consequences for his participation in the big lie. He was a huge proponent of the big lie, and used a good deal of his own personal money in order to help Donald Trump prove it.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise

Among other things, Lindell financed a bus tour that went around the country for two weeks, seeking to overturn election results. He also promoted a conspiracy theory that stated that Smartmatic and Dominion, two significant voting machine companies, had conspired with foreign adversaries to steal votes from Donald Trump and hand the election to Joe Biden.

Violations of Social Media Policy

This second lie is the one that has gotten Lindell in the most trouble, legal and otherwise. In 2021, Lindell’s constant push of the big lie saw him permanently banned from Twitter, due to multiple violations against company policies that were put into place to fight against disinformation.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise

Despite being banned from Twitter and having multiple posts and videos removed from various platforms due to lack of evidence and disinformation, Lindell has continued to push the conspiracy theory of the Big Lie. He has faced significant legal and civil fees from various companies and governments who have billed him for time that’s gone into proving the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Lindell’s Legal Problems

Lindell’s significant legal and civil fees have put the former billionaire in a financial pickle. He has had to pay up multiple judgments against him regarding the 2020 election, and the blows have kept on coming as the months and years have gone on.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise

The most recent judgment comes in the form of a mandatory prize that Lindell has been ordered to pay by a federal court. The court confirmed a $5 million arbitration judgment against Lindell, that was the result of a contest surrounding the results of the 2020 election.

The Contest Surrounding Big Lie Data

The contest was held by Lindell himself, who went online and challenged anyone who thought that they could prove him wrong about the 2020 election results. Lindell was so confident in the Big Lie that Donald Trump touted that he proclaimed that he would pay $5 million to anyone who could debunk his claims.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise

The details of the contest surround election data that Lindell provided to participants. The challenge was to prove that the data that he provided wasn’t real data, and would allow contestants to arbitrate the issue if necessary. That last cause is one that has come back to haunt Lindell in the years since the contest.

A Software Engineer Takes Up the Challenge

Robert Zeidman, a software engineer, took Lindell up on his challenge to interpret the so-called data. He compiled a 15-page report that proved that the data that Lindell had provided was completely and undeniably false, and ultimately won the $5 million prize.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise

The prize wasn’t awarded right away, and Lindell tried to wiggle out of having to pay the judgment. Zeidman took advantage of the arbitration clause that Lindell had put into the contract, though, and won the judgment once a panel of judges evaluated the contest results and found that Zeidman had won, fair and square.

Lindell Appealing the Judgment

Lindell, in a desperate measure of a man running out of options, appealed the decision up to a higher court. He hoped that the judgment would be wiped out by a federal court, and the case slowly made its way through the system until an opinion was finally handed down this week.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise

U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim ultimately upheld the ruling that found that Lindell must pay the $5 million to Robert Ziedman. The ask of the ruling was merely whether Lindell had to pay the judgment, and the judge was not asked to comment on the validity of the contest or the results that had led to the $5 million reward in the first place.

The Decision

“A court’s review of an arbitration award is very limited,” Tunheim explained in the decision. “Where parties agree to arbitrate, a court cannot substitute a judicial determination for the arbitrator’s decision.”

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise

He finished, “The Court is not at liberty to review the outcome of an arbitration award simply because one party believes it to be incorrect. Retrial of the issues is not within the purview of the court.”

The Judge Ordered Lindell to Pay

Ultimately, the court decided that the arbitration panel had acted well within the bounds of its responsibilities. Though Lindell might think the judgment was unfair, the arbitration panel was tasked with evaluating a poorly written contract, and ultimately made the decision that was most fair for the circumstances.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise

The judge did clarify that it was possible that the Court might have reached a different outcome, given an independent review of the information. However, given the scope of their judicial powers in this particular instance, the only decision that could be made regarding the case was whether the arbitration panel had acted fairly, which the judge found that they had.

Will Lindell Pay?

The decision leaves Lindell in the pickle of having to pay a judgment to Zeidman with money that he claims that he does not have. In the months and years since the 2020 election, Lindell has taken to the internet to claim that he is “broke” and “on the verge of declaring bankruptcy” multiple times.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise

Zeidman has said that he doesn’t believe that Lindell will pay up. “I’m a pessimist in general. I don’t think I’ll see it. I do think he’s going to go bankrupt from all these lawsuits and all his expenditures…So I think he’ll delay things until he’s out of money, and I probably won’t see anything.” Whether Zeidman is right or wrong, we’ll have to wait and see!