Smartmatic Sues Newsmax, OAN Over Election-Fraud Claims
(Bloomberg) -- Smartmatic Corp. filed a fresh round of defamation suits over false claims that the voting-machine maker rigged the 2020 presidential election, this time against Newsmax Media Inc. and One America News Network.
Newsmax and OAN owner Herring Networks Inc. knew they were spreading “lies” by reporting that Smartmatic fraudulently flipped millions of votes away from then-president Donald Trump, according to suits filed on Wednesday in Washington and Delaware.
“Smartmatic became collateral damage as these companies sought to build audience and profit at all costs,” Chief Executive Officer Antonio Mugica said in a statement.
London-based Smartmatic, whose technology is used in elections from the Philippines to Estonia, filed an earlier suit against Fox News and its top on-air talent, as well as Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s main lawyers in the fight to overturn the election results, and former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, who appeared on the network.
Theory Lives On
Trump’s claims of widespread election fraud, which helped trigger the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, gained traction with millions of Americans who continue to believe last November’s election was stolen with help from Smartmatic and a competitor, Dominion Voting Systems Inc. Trump said in a statement less than two weeks ago that the election was the “real insurrection” and the riot was “the protest.”
Neither OAN nor Newsmax have argued in court filings that the conspiracy theory is accurate.
“Newsmax reported accurately on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the President, his advisers and members of Congress, as well as reporting on Smartmatic’s claims in its defense,” the company said in a statement, which also called Smartmatic’s lawsuit an attempt to “squelch the rights of a free press.”
OAN didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Smartmatic alleges Newsmax spread the lies to compete with Fox, and that viewership “skyrocketed” as a result. Newsmax and OANN both ignored one glaring fact, according to the suits: its voting machines were only used in Los Angeles County.
Dominion, based in Denver, has similar suits pending against the networks as well as Giuliani, Powell and MyPillow Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Lindell, who also spread the conspiracy theory on TV. All the defendants have denied wrongdoing and moved to dismiss the claims.
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