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Definers Public Affairs, a policy and opposition research firm, has filed an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) response to a lawsuit from Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar, who accused the firm of coordinating a smear campaign against him. The firm is also asking the court to dimiss the lawsuit, calling the claims "delusional and entirely without merit."

Backstory: Last month, Pishevar filed a lawsuit against the firm after several media outlets, including Axios, inquired about his arrest earlier this year in London for alleged rape. He was ultimately not charged and a court granted his request to keep his name out of the papers. In his complaint, Pishevar accused Definers of spreading rumors about the incident, as well as other information in an attempt to smear him.

Full statement from Definers Public Affairs partner Tim Miller:

Our response indicates once again that Mr. Pishevar’s claims were delusional and entirely without merit. We had no knowledge of and communicated with no one about the events Mr. Pishevar lays out in his complaint. He has completely fabricated that Definers or anyone working for Definers had any role in this matter.
"Since his baseless lawsuit was filed there have been reports that it kept women from speaking out about his interactions with them, which demonstrates the shameful purpose of his action.
"We are confident that the Court will see through his strategy of filing deceitful lawsuits to intimidate women from coming forward.

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Trump received COVID vaccine at White House in January — CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions.
  2. Education: More schools are reopening in the U.S.
  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals Most states aren't prioritizing prisons for COVID vaccines — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. Economy: Apple says all U.S. stores open for the first time since start of pandemic — What's really going on with the labor market.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  6. World: Latin America turns to China and Russia for COVID-19 vaccines.
Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Latin America turns to China and Russia for COVID-19 vaccines

Several countries in the Americas have received their first vaccine shipments over the past few weeks — not from the regional superpower or from Western pharmaceutical giants, but from China, Russia, and in some cases India.

Why it matters: North and South America have been battered by the pandemic and recorded several of the world’s highest death tolls. Few countries other than the U.S. have the capacity to manufacture vaccines at scale, and most lack the resources to buy their way to the front of the line for imports. That’s led to a scramble for whatever supply is available.