MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell ordered to pay $5M over election data contest

Mike Lindell, founder and CEO of My Pillow, was ordered Wednesday to pay a software developer $5 million in connection to a contest he held that attempted to prove that China interfered in the 2020 general election. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Right-wing conspiracy theorist and election denier Mike Lindell must pay a $5 million arbitration award to a software developer who participated in his "Prove Mike Wrong Challenge."

Lindell, the chief executive of MyPillow, was one of the most ardent deniers that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election. He claimed he had cyber data that proved China had interfered in the election, and he held the "Prove Mike Wrong Challenge" where he would award $5 million to anyone who could show the Internet data was not valid election data.

Robert Zeidman produced a 15-page report that explained the data in question was not related to the election, but when the challenge judges ruled he had not met the requirements for the $5 million award, he filed an arbitration demand, which he won in April.

Lindell then filed a motion to vacate the arbitration award in state court, which was consolidated into Zeidman's action to confirm the award.

On Wednesday, Judge John Tunheim of the U.S. District Court of the District of Minnesota affirmed the arbitration award, finding no evidence to support Lindell's argument that the original court had exceeded its authority.

"The court's responsibility in reviewing an arbitration award is not to re-evaluate the merits but rather ensure that the panel acted appropriately. Lindell LLC's only basis for court action was that the panel acted outside the scope of its authority in issuing the award," Tunheim wrote in his ruling.

"Even though the court may have reached a different outcome given an independent initial review of the information, the court fails to identify evidence that the panel exceeded its authority."

Lindell has been ordered to pay Zeidman the $5 million plus post-judgment interest starting April 19 within 30 days.