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Judge rules My Pillow CEO must pay $5M for data contest loss

Judge rules My Pillow CEO must pay $5M for data contest loss

By Katelyn Polantz | CNN

My Pillow owner and right-wing conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell will have to pay $5 million because of a contest he initiated at one of his “cyber symposium” events after the 2020 election, a federal judge confirmed Wednesday.

Robert Zeidman, a software developer, took Lindell up on a so-called “Prove Mike Wrong” challenge at an event the election-denier hosted. Participants in the challenge could win $5 million if they proved data Lindell provided about the 2020 election wasn’t real election data, according to rules the participants agreed to. The contest allowed participants to arbitrate if needed.

Zeidman responded in the challenge with a 15-page report saying that the data Lindell put forth wasn’t complete or representative of possible data that had been captured in real time from the internet, according to a federal court decision Wednesday.

Zeidman lost the challenge initially, but then took Lindell to arbitration, and won.

Lindell had hoped a federal judge would wipe out the $5 million award to Zeidman. But the judge, John Tunheim of the US District Court in Minnesota, refused to do so on Wednesday.

“The panel was tasked with the difficult job of interpreting a poorly written contract,” Tunheim wrote, about the prior decision to award Zeidman the $5 million. “The Court fails to identify evidence that the panel exceeded its authority,” he added.

“The data was just so obviously bogus,” Zeidman previously told CNN. “It surprised me.”

CNN’s Sara Murray contributed to this report.