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He 'Proved Mike Wrong.' Now he's claiming his $5 million

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell arrives at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in April.
Evan Vucci
/
AP
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell arrives at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in April.

Software engineer Robert Zeidman, who used his data analytics skills to debunk a false 2020 election conspiracy theory promoted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, says he has received many congratulatory messages, including from supporters of former President Donald Trump.

"I've made the argument that Lindell is hurting Trump much more than he's helping him because everything Lindell is presenting is so obviously bogus that it just makes any talk about voter fraud or voter integrity look silly. So even big Trump supporters thanked me," Zeidman said in an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep.

It started in August 2021, when the Las Vegas-based computer expert entered the "Prove Mike Wrong Challenge," in which Lindell offered $5 million to anyone who could prove that data he claimed shows China interfered in the 2020 presidential election were inaccurate.

After Zeidman determined that the data provided during a three-day "Cyber Symposium" in Sioux Falls, S.D., had nothing to do with the 2020 election results, Lindell refused to pay the promised amount. Last week, an arbitration panel ruled in Zeidman's favor and ordered Lindell to pay up.

"[Mr. Zeidman] proved the data Lindell LLC provided [...] unequivocally did not reflect November 2020 election data," the arbitrators wrote. "Failure to pay Mr. Zeidman the $5 million prize was a breach of the contract, entitling him to recover."

Despite the ruling, Zeidman, who describes himself as a conservative Republican, does not expect to see any money.

"Lindell will delay it as long as he can. But I also think he's going to lose in the cases that are brought against him by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, the voting machine companies," he says. "I think that'll put him out of business for good."

Both companies have filed defamation lawsuits against Lindell, claiming he falsely accused them of rigging the 2020 presidential election.

Lindell did not respond to a request for comment, but he told The Associated Press last week that he has no intention of paying the $5 million to Zeidman and that he expects the dispute will end up in court.

Zeidman, who voted for Trump twice, says the data provided at the symposium not only failed to prove any Chinese election interference that could have tipped the outcome in favor of Joe Biden, the data included no discernible information whatsoever.

"It was pages and pages of numbers. And in other cases, a table full of gibberish, as if someone had sat there for hours and just typed random stuff into a word processor," he says.

It took Zeidman just hours to disprove Lindell's election fraud claims based on the data provided. After submitting a 15-page report that laid out the specifics of his findings, Zeidman called his wife confidently telling her: "Think about what you want to do with $5 million."

That call came a little premature as it turns out, but Zeidman tells NPR that he's just thrilled that people appreciate what he did.

And whether he would vote for Trump for a third time, he hasn't made a decision: "I hope I have another choice in the upcoming election."

Ben Abrams produced the audio version. contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

H.J. Mai