Election Conspiracy Theorist Attorney Arrested After Dominion Defamation Hearing

At the end of a hearing Monday in the defamation lawsuit by voting machine manufacturer Dominion against ex-Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, Byrne’s attorney, the prominent election conspiracy theorist Stefanie Lambert, was arrested by federal law enforcement inside the Washington, D.C., courtroom.

The arrest was on a bench warrant in Lambert’s own criminal case in Michigan after she missed a court date. She was indicted last year in that state for conspiring with others to unduly possess voting machines. The Detroit News was at Monday’s hearing and reported that after it concluded, “all attorneys and observers — except for Lambert — exited and U.S. marshals entered the room.”

On Tuesday, she was arraigned in Washington and charged with being a fugitive from justice, according to D.C. Superior Court records reviewed by HuffPost. She was released on an unsecured $10,000 bond.

The U.S. Marshals later said in a statement that Lambert had been arrested and “is currently being held on local charges,” according to CNN. Neither Lambert nor her attorney in the Michigan case, Daniel Hartman, responded to HuffPost’s request for comment Tuesday.

Lambert’s arrest in the courthouse came shortly after she acknowledged giving discovery documents from the Dominion case, which were protected by a court order, to a far-right sheriff in Michigan, with whom she’s worked in the past to pursue conspiracy theories about voting machines.

In a court filing Monday morning, Lambert wrote that the released documents weren’t covered by the protective order, in part because releasing them provided “transparency to the American public in defense of the truth.”

The arrest and the release of documents are both tied to the yearslongeffort by Donald Trump and his allies to smear voting machines as unreliable and voting machine manufacturers as agents of mass fraud, despite lacking any evidence showing that such widespread voter fraud has occurred.

Like clockwork, key Trump allies are already hyping the document release, saying, without evidence, that they showed Dominion staff in Serbia had interfered with U.S. elections.

Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and a key disseminator of pro-Trump conspiracy theories — particularly since Trump pardoned him in 2020referred to the documents Monday as “a very serious set of allegations” and said they needed “far wider distribution in the world of citizen journalism.”

Lambert, who sometimes goes by Stefanie Lambert Junttila or Stefanie Lynn Junttila, is part of a group of criminal defendants in Michigan facing multiple felony charges for allegedly conspiring to unduly access voting machines in Michigan after the 2020 election. Former state Rep. Daire Rendon (R) and former Republican state attorney general nominee Matthew DePerno are also indicted as part of the alleged scheme.

Earlier this month, the judge in that case issued a bench warrant for Lambert’s arrest after she missed a hearing scheduled to discuss why she hadn’t complied with orders to have her fingerprints and DNA samples taken.

“She needs to turn herself in or she will be picked up,” Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jeffery S. Matis said Wednesday after Lambert missed another hearing.

Shortly after the bench warrant, Lambert became Byrne’s counsel of record in the Dominion defamation case, a yearslong legal battle with potentially steep financial consequences for Byrne, who himself is a keyfunder of the election denial movement.

Byrne was also involved in key meetings attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including a White House meeting with former President Donald Trump in which he and others reportedly advocated for seizing voting machines.

As Byrne’s attorney, Lambert gained access to discovery documents in the case.

The Dominion hearing Monday focused on Lambert’s release of those protected documents, including her use of them in her own criminal case.

On Sunday, someone on X, formerly Twitter, using the name and picture of far-right Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf posted thousands of documents marked “confidential” from the case, along with a letter to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, claiming to have “evidence that our election equipment is not secure” and asking Jordan to investigate what the letter called “this garbage.”

The letter also claimed that the documents showed “Serbian foreign nationals entering our election system while the votes were being counted, and prior to certification.”

Leaf, who has worked with Lambert in the past, did not respond to a message from HuffPost seeking to confirm his ownership of the account. But Lambert wrote in a court filing and on X on Monday that she had released documents from the Dominion case “to law enforcement.” In the court filing, she said the documents showed “that Dominion conspired with foreign nationals in Serbia to create the means by which the 2020 election could be subverted and manipulated.”

In Monday’s hearing before her arrest, Lambert compared the documents to “a dead body” — evidence of a crime — and acknowledged giving Leaf access to the records, The Washington Post reported.

Dominion flatly denies the claim that Serbian employees interfered in U.S. elections.

“As has been public for years, Dominion has a small staff presence in Serbia, but any allegation that Dominion employees anywhere tried to interfere with any election is flatly false,” a spokesperson for the company told CNN. Separately, the company has said the latest round of claims has led to threats against Dominion employees.

Asked for comment, a Dominion representative referred HuffPost to a court filing in which the voting machine company sought the disqualification of Lambert as Byrne’s attorney and a court order prohibiting Lambert and Byrne’s access to Dominion’s confidential information. The filing noted, “Best Dominion can tell, Byrne and Lambert’s xenophobic conclusion is that any email from non-US-based Dominion personnel is conclusive evidence of criminal activity.”

Lambert, on Byrne’s behalf, responded to that filing with her own before her arrest on Monday, claiming the discovery documents contained “evidence of criminal violations” and “evidence of suspected criminal conspiracies” and were therefore not protected.

Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya said during the hearing that Lambert and Byrne would for the moment not be allowed to access discovery materials and that she would decide later about potentially removing Lambert from the case, the Post reported.

Hartman, Lambert’s defense attorney in Michigan, previously served as a lawyer for the Michigan Republican Party under the direction of election denier Kristina Karamo. Hartman also saidrecently that it was “crazy, as Christians, that we’ve allowed any other voice but a Christian voice into the marketplace of ideas.”

He told the Post that Lambert’s failure to appear for her Michigan court hearings “was not willful” but rather the result of “mixed messages.”

Nonetheless, Lambert has a yearslong history of pursuing false claims about widespread election fraud, including advising Leaf in 2021 as he sent a sheriff’s deputy and private investigator from town to town, pressuring local Michigan clerks to cooperate with his investigation of voting machines. A lengthy Reuters investigation in late 2022 traced Lambert’s involvement in multiple lawsuits relying on debunked claims about voter fraud, and linked her to seven alleged breaches of voting systems.

Byrne, her new employer, is linked to a Colorado effort by a former county clerk to allegedly release voting machine information to right-wing conspiracy theorists. That clerk, Tina Peters, faces several felony charges herself. Her trial was delayed again last month.

Byrne, who has supportedPeters financially, did not appear in court Monday for the Dominion hearing. But he told The Associated Press after the hearing that, if in fact his attorney had been arrested, “I respect her even more, and she can raise her rate to me.”