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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

Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19

Photo: Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

State of play: Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said in a statement that Milley — who is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot — is experiencing "very minor symptoms" and is "working remotely and isolating himself."

Momentum builds to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some progressive Democrats and MAGA Republicans are uniting on a proposal to ban sitting lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although it's unlikely that leadership will bring the bill up for a vote.

Why it matters: Members of Congress have great power to move stock prices, and great financial incentives to do so.

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: The Weather Prediction Center said in a storm summary Monday that winter storm warnings are still in effect for portions of the Central Appalachians, Ohio Valley, interior Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, while other portions of the Central Appalachians and coastal New England are under high wind warnings.