Bente Birkeland

Bente Birkeland has covered Colorado politics and government since spring of 2006. She loves the variety and challenge of the state capitol beat and talking to people from all walks of life. Bente's work has aired on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, American Public Media'sMarketplace, and she was a contributor for WNYC's The Next Big Thing. She has won numerous local and national awards, including best beat reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. Bente grew up in Minnesota and England, and loves skiing, hiking, and is an aspiring cello player. She lives in Lakewood with her husband.

The victims of some of the most pernicious conspiracy theories of 2020 are fighting back in court.

Voting equipment companies have filed a series of massive defamation lawsuits against allies of former President Trump in an effort to exert accountability over falsehoods about the companies' role in the election and repair damage to their brands.

Dominion Voting Systems has filed suit against former President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani over baseless claims he's made that Dominion was at the center of a scheme to perpetuate widespread election fraud.

The Denver-based company, which is seeking $1.3 billion in damages from Giuliani, provides election equipment and software to 28 states, including the majority of the equipment used in the swing states on which Trump and his surrogates focused most of their post-election ire.

More than a month ago, Eric Coomer went into hiding.

The voting conspiracy theories that have led millions of Republicans to feel as though the election was stolen from them, which are still spreading, have also led to calls for Coomer's head.

A version of this story was originally published by Colorado Public Radio.

Updated Dec. 23, 5:40 p.m. ET

A top employee of Dominion Voting Systems, who has gone into hiding after becoming the subject of conspiracy theories on the right since the election, is suing the Trump campaign, a number of campaign surrogates and pro-Trump media outlets, alleging defamation.

It happens at the beginning of every year: elected officials, legislative staff, lobbyists, journalists and the public gather in large numbers in state capitol buildings around the country for a relentless few weeks — or months — of lawmaking.

In 2020, official business had wrapped in many states by mid-March when lockdowns began. In others, the spread of COVID-19 sent lawmakers home early.

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Colorado voters could well decide this fall which party controls the U.S. Senate.

But first, on Tuesday, voters will pick the Democrat to challenge GOP Sen. Cory Gardner. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is the national party's first choice for the nomination, but his campaign has hit some snags in recent weeks. He was a two-term governor, former mayor of Denver and had a short-lived presidential bid.

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A news outlet publishes a story that a Republican politician dismisses as "fake news." Sounds familiar, right?

But in this case, there's a twist. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in Colorado is accusing state Sen. Ray Scott of defamation and threatening to sue. If filed, legal experts said it would be the first suit of its kind, potentially setting a legal definition for what is considered fake news and what is not.

Two prominent Democratic state senators could lose their jobs after lawmakers passed sweeping gun control laws following the theater shooting in Auro, Colo., and the Newtown school shooting in Connecticut. Gun rights activists collected enough signatures to force the historic recall elections.

The recalls follow a combative and bitter legislative session. Among the most controversial measures passed were universal background checks and limiting high-capacity magazines to 15 rounds.