Newsmax, OAN Sued by Dominion Over 2020 ‘Alternate Reality’
(Bloomberg) -- Dominion Voting Systems Inc. fired off a new round of defamation lawsuits over conspiracy claims made against the company by conservatives after the 2020 presidential election, this time targeting Newsmax Media Inc. and the owner of One America News Network.
The companies knowingly broadcast false reports that Dominion plotted to rig the election against Donald Trump despite having no valid reason to believe them, Dominion said Tuesday in a statement.
Newsmax and OAN created an “alternate reality that duped millions of Americans” into believing Dominion paid bribes to election officials, manipulated software to flip votes and had corrupt ties to Venezuela’s former president Hugo Chavez, among other falsehoods, Dominion claims in the lawsuits.
Dominion, whose voting technology was used in dozens of states, already has suits pending against Fox News, Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani, former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell and MyPillow Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Lindell, all of whom have denied wrongdoing.
A third suit the company filed Tuesday names Overstock.com Inc. founder and former chief executive officer Patrick Byrne, alleging he falsely accused the company of manufacturing voting machines in China and of rigging the 2016 Democratic primary to help Hillary Clinton win it.
“The defendants in today’s filings recklessly disregarded the truth when they spread lies in November and continue to do so today,” Dominion Chief Executive Officer John Poulos said in a statement.
“While Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 Presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the President, his advisors and members of Congress -- Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press,” the company said in a statement.
OAN didn’t immediately returned messages seeking comment.
Byrne stepped down as Overstock CEO in 2019, after making a series of confessions including a tryst he said he had with Russian operative Maria Butina, and now leads a nonprofit group called The America Project. The organization didn’t return a call for comment.
The new lawsuits come as Dominion awaits rulings from a Washington federal judge on the fate of its earlier defamation suits. Giuliani, Powell and Lindell have all filed motions to dismiss the cases against them, and oral arguments were held in June. Fox News is also fighting for a dismissal, arguing it had a First Amendment right to report on Trump’s claims of election fraud.
Judges across the U.S. threw out lawsuits that attempted to overturn the election result favoring Joe Biden in key swing states by citing false claims, including about Dominion. Trump’s own attorney general concluded that no widespread fraud had occurred, though the former president continues to claim otherwise.
Dominion alleges that OAN and Newsmax played to Trump and his base, all the while reaping big ratings and a financial windfall promoting the conspiracy theories.
“OAN used its lie-filled broadcasts to court President Trump, and was rewarded by President Trump retweeting the lies -- along with his personal endorsement of OAN -- to his tens of millions of followers,” Dominion claims. It alleges that at one point OAN hosted a purported “expert mathematician” to challenge its work, even though he was in reality a convicted felon employed at the time installing swing sets on Long Island.
The suit against Newsmax was filed in Delaware state court, the complaint against OAN owner Herring Networks Inc. in federal court in Washington.
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